Chef Mitchell Frieder leads students through “Vegetable Cookery”
The Los Angeles Hospitality Training Academy (HTA) recently launched its Culinary Apprenticeship Program, an intense five week program where 22 students receive accelerated training on how to become a line cook. The City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board (WDB) and the EWDD helps finance HTA programs with grant funding. HTA Executive Director Adine Forman also serves on the WDB Board and is a member of a WDB ad-hoc committee on expanding apprenticeship opportunities.

The training is held in the industrial kitchen at the historic Belasco Theater in Downtown LA, where students hone their knife skills while immersed in cooking courses prepare them for life in the kitchen.

EWDD General Manager Jan Perry visited the program July 21, as Chef Mitchell Frieder led students through “Vegetable Cookery.” Dressed in white chef coats, the students watched intently with some furiously scribbling notes about Frieder’s technique.

LAHTA Culinary Student Jonathan Fritts
Student Jonathan Fritts credits the program with helping him get back on his feet
One student who has already emerged as a success story from the program is Jonathan Fritts, 51. Originally from the East Coast, Fritts moved to California in 1989 and enjoyed a successful career in real estate before the Great Recession. After several difficult years and financial setbacks during the economic downturn, Fritts became homeless and was sleeping on park benches when he interviewed for a slot in the program. HTA assisted Fritts in finding transitional housing and has helped him secure a job at a steak house at the Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX once he completes the program.

“They got me a place where I feel comfortable and safe,” Fritts said. "Soon, I’ll be able to support myself,” he said.

Many students have also started interviewing for jobs following the program. More than a dozen hospitality employers have expressed interest in hiring students from the academy, including Hyatt, Sheraton, HMSHost, the Beverly Hilton and the Westin Bonaventure.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES Newsletter from the week of 7/24/2017. Read this issue and more.