Workforce Development

Chef Edward Lee Launches Culinary Arts Training Program in Louisville’s Smoketown

See Video from WAVE 3

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–Oct. 2, 2014–Chef Edward Lee is proud to announce a new culinary partnership with IDEAS 40203 and YouthBuild Louisville to benefit the lives of young adults. The goal of the culinary program is to inspire generational sustainability through creative workforce development and job skills training.

As part of the “Creative Innovation Zone” project, an artist-led program based in Smoketown, Chef Lee will create a real-life restaurant work program to train aspiring chefs and managers who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn the trade in a safe and nurturing environment.  The Creative Innovation Zone is supported by an ArtPlace America grant, secured by IDEAS and YouthBuild in partnership with the Metro Louisville Commission on Public Art.

Chef Edward Lee, program founder, said, “I am proud to announce our culinary apprentice program. We have partnered with YouthBuild Louisville to design a program that will create jobs for young smart people who can’t afford the schools that train them to join the restaurant industry.” Says Chef Lee, “The innovative life skills and job training program we are creating will assist young adults who desire to make a positive change in their lives.”
For over a decade the restaurant industry has seen double-digit growth that has created an industry wide need for skilled workers. Chef Lee’s apprenticeship model program is geared to fast track young adults looking for a career in Louisville’s thriving culinary industry. The restaurant sector demand for skilled labor creates a tremendous opportunity for high-wage job creation in Louisville.

“For more than 15 years Youthbuild Louisville has established a proven model of workforce development that combines personal growth, with job skills training, while championing young adults to be great citizens who build productive lives and sustainable communities,” said Lynn Rippy, executive director of YouthBuild Louisville. “Our partnership with Chef Lee is a wonderful addition to our programs in construction, green collar, and nursing jobs, and will greatly expand the number of young people we can serve.”

“It’s a perfect fit for our creative placemaking grant from ArtPlace America,” said Theo Edmonds, co-founder of IDEAS 40203. “Traditionally, much creative placemaking has focused upon repurposing real estate. IDEAS 40203’s approach is unique because we focus on workforce development as the primary driver of economic growth and sustainability. An experienced, respected, entrepreneurial, culinary artist like Chef Lee is a valuable contributor to our creative innovator corps who are working out new, holistic approaches that balance human and economic development as dual considerations in building equitable communities.”

“Ed Lee’s Smoketown culinary apprentice program is a great example of the new kind of public-private partnership that are required to develop generational sustainability in communities. The partnership with IDEAS 40203, YouthBuild Louisville, Metro Government, and private investment will help to create high-wage career opportunities for a new generation in the culinary world.” said Heather Farrer, involved with Workforce Development and Job Creation Committee for the ArtPlace America grant in Smoketown.

The Culinary Training program was launched on October 2nd in conjunction with the Smoketown Poetry Opera, taking place on YouthBuild Louisville’s campus.


About Chef Edward Lee Chef Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood.  He is a James Beard Award Finalist for Best Chef Southeast.  He is also the author of Smoke & Pickles and the host of Season 3 of the Emmy-winning series The Mind of a Chef.

About IDEAS 40203 
International Dialogue and Engagement Art Space + Zip Code is a 501(c)(6) contemporary art chamber of commerce – an artist-led/entrepreneur-focused, community-based association promoting new forms of economic development and positive social change. IDEAS 40203 is redefining what a chamber of commerce can be and do in the 21st Century by focusing on creativity as the fuel of innovation and people as Louisville’s greatest asset.

About YouthBuild Louisville
YouthBuild Louisville’s mission is to champion young people to be great citizens who build productive lives and sustainable communities. YBL capitalizes on the positive energy of young adults focusing in five areas: education, career vocational training, community service, social services and career development and placement. Youth split their time between the construction site and the classroom, where they earn their GED or high school diploma, learn to be community leaders and prepare for jobs or college.

About ArtPlace America
 ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) advances the field of creative placemaking, in which art and culture plays an explicit and central role in shaping communities’ social, physical, and economic futures. To date, ArtPlace has awarded $56.8 million through 189 grants to projects serving 122 communities across 42 states and the District of Columbia.

ArtPlace is a collaboration among the Barr Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, and two anonymous donors.

ArtPlace seeks advice and counsel from its close working relationships with the following federal agencies: the National Endowment for the Arts, the US Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council.

ArtPlace has additional partnership from six major financial institutions: Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s