One80 Place trains homeless to become chefs, work Wine and Food Festival

One80 Place trains homeless to become chefs, work Wine and Food Festival

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Several people working at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival used to be homeless before they graduated from a culinary training program at One80 Place.

One80 Place is an organization based in Charleston that works to end and prevent homelessness.

The group offers a five-week program that trains homeless men and women in culinary arts.

Jerry McMillian is one of the program's participants.

"They taught me the basic terminology, some life skills, stuff like that," McMillian said. 

Stacey Denaux, the CEO of One80 Place, said 95% of people who graduate from the program are employed with full-time jobs.

"At One80, we're all about turning it around," Denaux said. "We're all about helping people begin again. So through training and obtaining meaningful employment, people do that One80 and they don't ever come back to homelessness."

For McMillian, going back to homeless is not even a question. He has his sight set on something much greater.

"I mean, hey, you never know, I might be owning my own one day," McMillian said. "That's my ultimate goal, to have my own restaurant."

One80 Place also partners with the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, providing assistants and eventually chefs.

The first four weeks of the program involve extensive training, and participants work in an externship for the final week.

Each graduating class has about three to five students. The program has graduated about 100 people.

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