Meet Our Trainees

Incorporating Pine Street’s food services training program into its operation, iCater provides formerly homeless men and women with culinary training as they work alongside our Executive Chef and professional staff. This training advances their work-life skills and enables them to move toward self-sufficiency and housing.

100% of iCater’s income helps to fund Pine Street’s job training and job placement services.

Jason R.

“This program is a positive experience. Yeah, there’s a lot of chaos [in the kitchen], but you get out of it what you put in. So stay focused and work hard.” 

When fellow guests of his halfway house told Jason about the Food Services Training Program, he was immediately intrigued. He was already working as a prep cook at Agganis Arena, but he knew he had more potential. Motivated by the opportunity to earn his ServSafe certification, Jason reached out to his case manager and then began the training program in May 2015.

Jason R. and Joe

Joe, iCater Associate, with Jason

From day one, Jason stood out; eager and motivated, it was apparent that he wanted to be here and he wanted to work. As Jason says, “you get out of it what you put in,” so he kept his head down and focused on working hard through the program. He learned the “ins and outs” of the kitchen—including safety and hygiene— and ultimately discovered “what it takes to be a cook.”

iCater’s Sous-Chef, Carey, shared that “Jason always had a really great attitude. He cared about his work performance and made sure to pay attention to details. Jason was one of the most dependable students and would walk to work if he had to in order to be on time.”

This notable determination was rewarded when Jason was offered the iCater internship—an opportunity that turned out to be his favorite part of the program.  His eyes shine with pride as he talks about the way he was able to achieve his goal through focus and determination. With the accomplishment of his ServSafe certification under his belt, Jason is now focused on “getting [his] worth, knowing [his] worth, and taking care of [his] family.”

When asked about what he wants people to know about him, he said simply, “I’m a person who’s easy to get to know, very caring, and can always be asked for advice.” We worked with Jason for eight months and are happy to share that nothing truer could be said. Good luck going forward Jason. We wish you all the best!


Kelly R.

Kelly RapozaKelly has 15 years of experience in front of the house positions in restaurants. But, she wanted experience in the kitchen as well. She came to FSTP in 2015 to learn those skills and better support her 3 year old son. FSTP has taught her a lot about food preparation and helped develop her enjoyment and pride in good presentation. It’s shown her how to serve guests in a way that brings them happiness.

Before entering our program, Kelly was a single mother struggling with addiction. She left everything behind to start over. Through her struggles, she bravely persevered. Looking back at the beginning of her FSTP journey, she said “I was kind of quiet at first.” But as time went on, the program gave her more confidence. She feels more open to change, new experiences, and new people now. She looks forward to coming in every day.

The change certainly shines through. Kelly has become one of the go-to people in the kitchen. The staff knows they can rely on her any time they need help, and they’re really excited to have her on board as an iCater intern.

Kelly aims be a well-rounded industry professional; someone capable of doing anything and everything that is needed in the kitchen. We believe her hard work will certainly take her there, and anywhere else she wishes to go.

**We are happy to update this post with the wonderful news that Kelly has found a job working front & back of the house at Hale and Hearty. While we are sad to say goodbye, we are proud of her for all she has accomplished and wish her the best of luck!

Dawnyelle G.  “…’s like a light opened up.”

Dawnyelle’s journey with iCater began when she heard about the program through a cousin that had formerly been a trainee. Issues of homelessness and domestic violence had made it difficult for Dawnyelle to find employment, but her brave steps in pursuing enrollment in the training program are a part of her journey that she says is “all about me and my future now.”

The transition to the program has been a challenge with so much new information and techniques to learn and the 5:30 am start time for some shifts, but Dawnyelle has risen to the challenge. What shines from Dawnyelle is Dawnyellea sense of pride in her work. Each day, she posts photos on social media of her culinary creations—her favorite of which are the fruit trays and pineapple presentations she gets to make for the catering orders.  Her friends and family all comment on these photos with not only praise for the work, but what she is doing with iCater, as well as requests for trays for family functions.

Dawnyelle says through the positive support of the iCater program, seeing her family’s reactions to her work, and all that she learns each day in the program, she now recognizes her own potential. As she reflects on her time in the program, she says “I didn’t know I could do that…But I did it!”

Dawnyelle is looking forward to working with IMPACT career services to find the right employment option for her next steps.  She is confident about her future, saying that “this job changed my life–I now know I have the energy and the willpower I need to succeed, and it’s like a light opened up.” We know that Dawnyelle has a bright future ahead of her!

Mo Q.

Mo and Sous-Chef Jason Carpenter

Mo and Sous-Chef Jason Carpenter

Mo came to Pine Street Inn’s Food Services Training Program in January of 2013.  Mo came to learn a new skill and broaden his job opportunities.

“The most important lessons I have learned at my training programs is how to stay focused, communicate, and to have fun,” he says.

Sous-Chef Jason Carpenter describes Mo as a “hardworking and all around strong person to have in the kitchen.”

Since completing the training program, Mo has been hired as a prep cook for a large contract food services company in Boston.

Favorite Food: Seafood

Employment Goal: To become a kitchen manager


Rob W.


Rob preparing chicken shish kabobs.

In December of 2013, Rob entered iCater’s Food Services Training Pogram at Pine Street Inn.  He came looking for a second chance and he succeeded.  In June of 2014 Rob walked down the aisle of Pine Street Inn’s graduation ceremony.  This was the first time Rob has ever graduated from anything and he could not be happier.

“iCater taught me communication, teamwork, and how to get things done in a timely matter,” said Rob, “They gave me the chance to follow my dreams.”

Rob Landed a job with a similar social enterprise catering company in Boston.  He is thankful to iCater for introducing him to the catering industry and expressed his desires to continue in the field.

Favorite Food to Eat: Everything

Favorite Food to Cook: Anything