California Prison Industry Authority, Rehabilitation

Chefs in training graduate from CALPIA’s Culinary Arts Management program

Woman in chef's clothing and young girl sample food.
CALPIA graduates donned chef's clothing and served guests at the Culinary Arts Management program at Folsom Women's Facility..

Folsom Women’s Facility hosts ceremony

Chefs in training, female offenders at the Folsom Women’s Facility, graduated from the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) Culinary Arts Management program on July 25.

CALPIA partners with CDCR and Cosumnes River College to provide a program where women can earn up to 13 college units completing courses such as introduction to Culinary Arts Management, Culinary Sanitation & Safety, Quantity Food Production, Food Theory and Preparation, and Culinary Customer Service.

“I was happy to do this program and get college credits. I want to start a catering business and operate it on a big scale,” said culinary graduate Zaneisha Thornton. “We learned how to prepare and cook really great food. How to work on a team and offer better service. I have a new appreciation for cooking with the help of the great chefs that taught me.”

The culinary program at FWF is taught by CALPIA Industrial Supervisor Vincent Moralez and Cosumnes River College Chef Instructors Jason Doolittle and David Nelson.

“This is a fulfilling job that is rewarding, knowing I am making a difference for these women,” said CALPIA Industrial Supervisor Vincent Moralez.

Two women toss food in a pan.
Inmates learned job skills to help them with their reentry in society.

CALPIA General Manager Scott Walker thanked the staff and expressed his appreciation to the graduates. 

“You have all worked hard and should be proud of your accomplishment,” said Walker.   “We want you to thrive and have the job skills and education you need to be successful when you return home.”

The students, who wore white chef coats and hats, prepared a four-course meal to serve to family and guests. The meal included assorted bruschetta appetizers, mixed green salad with citrus vinaigrette, tri-tip steak with chimichurri over corn, asparagus and roasted fingerling potatoes, and a mixed berry short cake with homemade whipped cream.

“The courses that you have taken is the same curriculum that is taught on our college campus. It is the real deal,” said Kimberly Harrell, Cosumnes River College Associate Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development. “Out of 22 awards that we handed out, half of them came from students here at the Folsom Women’s Facility Culinary program. To compare some data from the 2017-2018 school year, the FWF Culinary program GPA was at a 91.5% compared to 70.3% at the college, and the spring semester FWF Culinary GPA was 92.3% compared to 80.6% at the college.”

Folsom State Prison Warden Rick Hill shook the hand of each graduate.

“The program doesn’t just give you a certificate. It is more than a piece of paper. It represents a real accomplishment. All of you have demonstrated your desire to be better equipped and better prepared to move forward with your lives,” Warden Hill said. “I most sincerely, I congratulate you for your accomplishments.”

Large group holds plaques in front of a sign that says "Career Technical Education, Building Success Through Job Training."
Graduates display their certificates at Folsom Women’s Facility.