Amazon Adding 5 FareStart Restaurants To Its Seattle HQ Campus – Forbes

Fare Start exec chef Wayne Johnson

Ronald Holden

FareStart exec chef Wayne Johnson

Four months ago, Amazon announced it was turning over 25,000 square feet of space in its complex of office buildings north of downtown Seattle to FareStart, a program that trains culinary workers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Now the second phase: FareStart has announced it will use the space to operate five new cafes: one full-service restaurant called Maslow’s, one Italian-style café called Rise, and three fast-casual outlets, called Community Table, that will offer what’s described as “a market-like dining experience.”

The new Amazon restaurants are in addition to the existing FareStart training facility, which is open to the public for lunch and dinner. The FareStart apprenticeship program provides tools, training and support for careers in the food service industry.

The expanded program is expected to serve some 7,000 people whose backgrounds (lack of skills, criminal history, and so on) are considered “high barriers” to employment. In addition to training students in the basics of cooking, FareStart also teaches them “soft skills” such as teamwork, professionalism and self-confidence.

FareStart’s Executive Chef Wayne Johnson was hired two years ago after a stellar career at high-profile local restaurants (including perennial favorite Ray’s Boathouse) to bring new prestige to the training and apprenticeship programs.

Johnson told the Seattle Times: “This expansion is amazing for how much more good we can do!”

Founded in 1992, FareStart has served 8,000 people from its adult and youth programs, including culinary and barista training that give students the technical and life skills they need in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

The expansion made possible by Amazon will allow FareStart to nearly double its reach over the next 10 years, serving 7,000 people across all of its job training programs in an effort to raise more people out of homelessness and poverty and into long-term financial stability, not just entry level positions, but higher-wage jobs as line cooks, line leads, sous chefs, supervisors and managers.

The new full-service restaurant,”Maslow’s by FareStart,” takes its name from Abraham Maslow, the psychologist who developed the “hierarchy of needs” theory of motivation.

 

Ronald Holden is a Seattle-based food writer. His latest book is Forking Seattle.

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