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Is Jessica Marrero a chef in the making? Time will tell—but after four weeks of internship at a local café, Jessica has become an asset to Hope Café, a local restaurant and catering company which has served a variety of impressive clients, including the City of Pasadena and Edison International.

Earlier this year, Jessica began working with an AbilityFirst job developer to find a job that will help her further her interests, expand her skill set, and transition her into working in the community. During the exploration process, our job developer discovered Jessica was interested in cooking and baking, and has grown to love trying out new recipes at home.

To help Jessica further explore her love of cooking and baking, Shanna Hart, Employment Regional Manager for AbilityFirst Supported Employment, researched restaurants and catering businesses in the community and found a possible internship at Hope Café. Jessica was excited at the prospect of an internship—especially one where she would get to work in a restaurant kitchen.

In the days leading up to her interview with Chef Tony, the AbilityFirst staff prepared Jessica well by performing mock interviews and preparing answers to commonly asked interview questions, including writing out answers she was able to study later. They also watched videos on industrial kitchens so Jessica would understand exactly what type of situation Jessica could expect to go into. Imagine her delight, after the process was through, when she heard that she was being offered the internship position in the wholesale catering department for Hope Café.

Jessica had a wonderful experience at her internship. In her four-week positon, she was highly productive and took her job, which included filling the small containers, placing lids on them, and stacking them, very seriously. When asked about Jessica’s performance, Chef Tony expressed appreciation for Jessica’s work ethic, saying, “Jessica catches on very quickly and is very organized in the process.”

Working at Hope Café allowed Jessica to experience the process of “food prep” and she continues to show an interest in learning more about developing her cooking skills. Jessica Marrero could truly be “a chef in the making”, as a result of her impressive work ethic and the efforts of the team that supports her at AbilityFirst.

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