Food Service Training Program

In addition to producing delicious and nutritious food, we also oversee one of Pine Street Inn’s long-standing job training programs. Funded with iCater profits, the program plays an integral role in our business model. Through this program, we provide training in the food services industry to people who are either underemployed or transitioning out of homelessness.

The iCater Job Training Program is a 24 week-long program composed of three phases of eight weeks each: the Food Service Training Program, the Junior Internship: Food Preparation, and a Senior Internship. There are six enrollments each year with 12-18 individuals in each cohort. Following an interview process, accepted students complete a one-day orientation before beginning the program – mirroring a real world work environment.

Read more about the program below!

Seamus’ Story

Watch this video to hear from one of our FSTP trainees.


A COTP trainee working in the Pine Street Café

A FSTP trainee working in the Pine Street Café

Phase I – Food Services Training Program (FSTP)

FSTP includes time in the classroom and hands-on training in Pine Street Inn’s main kitchen. Trainees learn Kitchen Safety, Food Safety & Hygiene, among other lessons, and then work alongside the Executive Chef, Sous Chef, and Cooks in the kitchen at Pine Street. Outside the kitchen, trainees learn about financial literacy, professionalism, and other job readiness skills, including goal setting, managing conflict, and cultural competency. Trainees also participate in weekly classes lead by a certified volunteer from the Engaged Mindfulness Institute. During the class they learn mindfulness techniques and emotional resilience tools that help to prepare them for that fast-paced environment in the iCater kitchen and their personal lives. Trainees receive an hourly wage and work in the training program for 20 hours per week. Individuals who successfully complete FSTP move on to the second phase: a Junior Internship in Food Preparation.

Phase II – Junior Internship – Food Preparation

Trainees continue to work alongside the Executive Chef, Sous Chef, and cooks in the kitchen for up to 40 hours per week at an hourly wage. In the classroom, time is dedicated to ServSafe classes and certification.

Phase III – Senior Internships

Achieving this phase in the program, trainees are placed in one of three internship positions with an increase in pay. There are five Café Interns who operate the Staff Café, working the dish room, serving line, deli, and register. One intern works in the storeroom. Working forty hours a week, this position includes receiving food and supplies, pulling supplies for production and caterings, defrosting for production, cleaning, and organizing the storeroom and storage areas. Lastly, two trainees are selected for the Catering Internship to work directly with iCater’s Catering Production Team on scheduled corporate catering needs.

Visiting Chef Series


Sodexo Chef Zach Julian with COTP trainees after a culinary demonstration

The Visiting Chef Series is an exciting component of the program. Professional chefs from the Greater Boston area provide live culinary demonstrations and teach professional culinary techniques and practices to trainees. A few of our participating chefs include: Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery and Myers+Chang, Andy Husbands of Tremont 647, and Sister Sorel, Hyatt Regency and Lenox Hotel chefs, as well as various chefs from Legal Sea Foods and Sodexo, among many others. For each demonstration, every chef brings their own style and recipe to the table.

Learn more about the Visiting Chef Series here!

Mindfulness Training

During the FSTP phase of the program, trainees participate in a weekly two-hour mindfulness training. The class is lead by a certified volunteer from The Engaged Mindfulness Institute. This class provides an opportunity for trainees to learn about the everyday applications of mindfulness meditation. Each week includes discussion on topics related to emotional resilience, as well as practice using different mindfulness meditation techniques. The class is a change of pace and a chance for trainees – who work long and hard all week – to unwind and reflect while learning skills that relate both to the training programs and to life outside of work.