What to Give a Veteran for Veteran’s Day

A job would be nice.

A food job would be even nicer.

Many men and women who have served in the military have already worked in restaurants and have determined that an in-depth education from a cooking school will advance their careers.

What all aspiring food enthusiasts share is a passion for food, (though not necessarily for cooking).

Veterans may have valuable work experience already. But to succeed in today’s rapidly changing foodservice industry, they need the “complete package”—proven knowledge, skills, experience, and the all-important degree credential.

Note to Vets

If you have 2.5 or more years of post-high school, full-time back-of-the-house foodservice experience, you may qualify for the CIA’s Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) in Culinary Arts degree program created specifically for students with advanced career experience. Tuition grants are available for U.S. citizens.

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Other professional culinary schools also offer a wide range of courses designed specifically for those who have served in the military.

Chef David Robinson has been a caterer to a former United States President and to senators, movie stars, hedge fund financiers and the biggest shots in the military–including General Colin Powell. He pioneered a successful campaign to take the military into the kitchen.

After creating a 10-video series: How to Cook (And Eat Your Mistakes), he concentrated his efforts on a new program called Culinary Command Training, an intensive culinary training program for returning U.S. veterans, as well as active military.

Last year and again this year, I spent a day at Chef David’s school in Chatham, New York. I talked, (of course), about the extraordinary range of food jobs that are available to all of us who love food, but may not want to actually cook, or work in a restaurant.

It was an immensely stimulating and inspiring experience for me, as I had not previously met a single person who had served in the military.

One of the students, a former marine told me the greatest, most memorable meal he had ever had, was served in a desert outpost in Afghanistan.

“It was a barbecue.

A whole pig was roasted in a pit in his God-forsaken hell, and triumphantly devoured by the soldiers (along with baked beans, mac and cheese and a barrel of beer).

It’s hard to imagine anything would ever again taste as good as that pork!”

It is much easier to find a pathway to a new career in the hospitality industry.