A few weeks ago, we were all hard at work in our prep kitchen gearing up for fall. Fall is a busy time for us as we were up to our chins in peaches! In just a few short days we had to blanch 500 lbs. of the best Palisade peaches! In the midst of this, the phone rang. The caller ID said “ABC – The Chew”. What??? Yep, “ABC – The Chew”. We answered the phone and the man on the other end introduced himself as a producer for the ABC daytime talk show “The Chew”. You know, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly. Well, if you don’t know, it is a pretty big deal for a small little jam production place such as our prep kitchen. The Chew airs nationally and is a show about food, restaurants and pop culture. They are focusing this season on the way the food can change lives and they were interested in what we are doing in our prep kitchen! Over the course of the next few weeks, we spoke back and forth with the producers and settled on a date for the shoot. Although they were not sending out any of the hosts, they did send out a crew who filmed us for an entire day. They arrived on Wednesday, September 2nd with 4 people to shoot our prep kitchen! Everyone wanted their chance to be on TV, but everyone was nervous also. Before the shooting, we had a quick employee meeting. We got everyone together and talked about how this is their chance to show the world (THE WORLD!!) that people with developmental disabilities can be the productive, efficient, and wonderful employees. This is their chance to show other companies that they could – and should – hire people with developmental disabilities. This is their chance to shine! Together we were going to sell some jam, and I couldn’t have been more proud. Everyone stepped up, did their job and showed their true colors. They were focused, funny, and worked hard. They were not frightened by the camera’s; they were all calm, cool and collected. The crew spent 4 hours filming in our prep kitchen and 4 hours interviewing one and one and filming in the restaurant. I was also impressed with the crew and the producer from The Chew – Becky…
My name is Cate Bailey. I am the Program Manager at the Steamers Pre-Vocational Prep Kitchen. I sat down with Jessica, one of my employees here at the prep kitchen to talk about her job here and what her future looks like. She told me about her time working at Steamers and how she recently found a new job at AMC. Jessica just obtained a supported community employment job with AMC Theatres at Flat Irons! Jessica is a 23 year old woman, who has been working in the Steamers Pre-Vocational Prep Kitchen since it opened in April, 2014. Steamers Pre-Vocational Prep Kitchen is a program that is designed to teach individuals who have developmental disabilities job skills, and prepare them for supported employment. The goal of what we do in the prep kitchen is for people to gain a wide variety of job skills and then to eventually move on to community based employment and use those learned skills. When Jessica started working at Steamers she had never had a job cooking or working with food, she had just cooked at home with her mom. Jessica told me she has liked and enjoyed her job here at Steamers Prep Kitchen. She told me her favorite part about her job has been her job coaches. She told me she likes them so much because they are nice and they are always there to help out. Jessica had a job coach who took her to apply for the job at AMC. She filled out the job application by herself and turned it into the hiring manager at AMC. A few days after turning in her application, AMC contacted Jessica and her mother about setting up an interview. Jessica’s job coach helped her prepare for the interview, and then took her to the interview. To prepare for the interview, Jessica’s job coach helped her choose an outfit and they practiced answering possible interview questions. Jessica’s job coach sat in on the interview with her, but Jessica answered all the questions and participated in the interview independently. Jessica told me they asked her questions like what her availability for scheduling might look like, if she thought AMC might be a fun place to work, if she enjoyed movies, and if she liked talking to people. After her interview, AMC offered Jessica a job on the spot! Jessica told me her new job will be working at the food counter as…
My name is Sam and I am 1 of 2 bakers at Steamer’s. My situation is a bit unique in that I am totally blind and I am a baker. “WHAT?!” you say. “Is that even possible?” you ask. I am living proof that it is possible! I started working at Steamer’s in April 2014 as an intern baker and after 3 months, I was hired on as a permanent employee. With some adaptive equipment, I am able to bake with minimal assistance and I do my job just as well as a sighted person can. I love my job! I started taking an interest in baking at an early age and have always had a fascination with the exact science of baking and the delicious creations that come from it. After losing my vision 10 years ago, I wasn’t sure how I could continue baking or even function as a blind person. However, with some training from wonderful instructors and support and encouragement from family and friends, I am able to live a full and normal life. There are so many things that I like about Steamer’s – the friendly and happy environment, helpful and upbeat co-workers, the different and spunky personalities, and that everyone is treated equally, whether someone has a disability or not. Steamers and Jacks has just brought on a new intern baker. His name is Matt and he is also blind. It is my responsibility to teach Matt everything there is to know about baking so that he too can work with minimal assistance and still make the same quality of baked goods that the customers know and love. Yes, it is literally the blind leading the blind. There will be some challenges but I say: “Bring it on!” When I was sighted, I used to coach basketball and softball so I feel right at home teaching. Since visualization is out, we have to utilize our other senses, smell, taste and touch. For instance I can tell the difference between powdered sugar and flour using only my sense of touch. We use our sense of touch to tell if batter or dough is the right consistency. We use our sense of smell for lots of things like to tell the difference between spices and when something is finished baking. Matt is eager to learn and I am just as eager and honored to teach him. I see myself as a role…
One of the goals of our blog is to help give our readers and our customers a window into our little world. For this blog we sat down with Garret McGovern, our kitchen manager here at Jack’s and Steamers Coffee House.
When did you start working at Jack’s? I started in September of 2011 as a line cook.
How did you get into cooking? I started cooking at my mom’s catering company when I was 10 years old in New Hampshire.
Where else have you worked? In Denver I have worked at Fado, The Wynkoop, Andrews, and the Grandview.
When you first started working at Jacks what was your first impression? When I first started working here I thought, “What the heck have I got myself into?” I started working here as a line cook and it was kind of a risk to start working at a tiny neighborhood place but I really believed that it was something special.
Was it hard to get used to working in a kitchen with adults with developmental disabilities? It was really fun and really different and actually not as hard of a transition as you might think. It’s fun to work side by side with them and to try to explore what their special skill is and working to expand and develop their skills which benefits the over-all flow of the whole restaurant.
What is your favorite thing about working at such a unique place? There is never a dull moment at Jack’s. We have a very eclectic set of personalities here.
What’s your favorite thing to cook? My favorite thing to cook is probably seafood because I grew up on the east coast. It’s also my personal mission to bring fresh quality ingredients to our little neighborhood.
Is there anything you think customers should know about Jack’s that they might not know? In the future at Jack’s we are going to be bringing a lot of new exciting food to our little neighborhood. For example we’d like to offer more steak, more seafood and more home-style pub food.
What else is coming up for Jack’s and Steamers? With the addition of our prep kitchen we’re trying to expand into the wholesale market and hopefully maybe taking on a couple food trucks.
When did you start working at steamers?
I just to start working at steamers around 8 to 12
I just to do access a ride from the first bank all Mondays
I just use to work on Mondays and Thursdays when the schedule was changed last years ago.
Bill and Laura and Mary use to get me from steamers on Thursdays.
I just use to work at steamers for four years.
What is your favorite job at steamers?
I just use to rinse the dishes on Thursdays.
I just use to wait for the dishes to come so I can rinse for so more dishes.
I just use to do the dishes with Amy and then I just use to put dishes away too.
Who are your friends at steamers?
I just use to meet new friends at steamers
I just use to like our friends is Amy, Cassie, Karen, Quiana, Natedogg, Keith, Tiger, Jay, Elsa, Nicole, and Sharvetta too.
What other jobs do you do at Steamers?
I just use to make some sweet and sour, make some jam, and make treats
I just use to put some berries in the jams when it looks very well but not bad
I just use to cook it and stir it and put it in the jam jars
I just work with Jenni Martines on making jam for my sisters wedding.
I just use to send those jams to everybody.
I just use to do the lemons and limes for the sweet and sour
I just use to cut some vegetables and some fruit .