The Catalyst for Change Award

Catalyst for Change Award

We recognize that it takes a village to drive successful culinary job training programs. From delivering life skills to demonstrating knife cuts in the kitchen, there are many hands involved in supporting students. The annual Catalyst for Change Award was created in 2015 to recognize exemplary individuals within our network for their dedication and embodiment of their organization’s mission.


We ask the Catalyst Kitchens network to nominate their coworkers for the Catalyst for Change award to shine a spotlight on those dedicating their time, passion, and resources to guide their students towards a successful career path in foodservice. After reviewing all nominations, our Member Advisory Council votes to determine the Catalyst for Change award recipient.


The Perks

Catalyst for Change award recipients are profiled in our blog, sent a physical award, and recognized at our Catalyst Kitchens National Summit. We strive to tell the story of all award nominees throughout the year to recognize their commitment to student success.


2020 Catalyst for Change Nominations

Our Catalyst for Change nominations are open until Friday, June 23. We are seeking nominations for our 2020 Catalyst for Change award. Shine a spotlight on a coworker of yours who dedicates their time, passion, and resources to guide their students towards a successful career path in foodservice.

This award is designed to recognize staff on the frontlines of student training and/or food production. 

Submit a nomination

And the award goes to...


2019: Carla Domingo, Forge City Works

When hitting a rough patch in life, a listening ear and compassionate spirit can make all the difference. Meet Carla Domingo, workforce development employment navigator at Forge City Works, a longtime restauranteur turned teacher and counselor for youth and adult culinary training students. 

Carla Domingo, 2019 winner


2018: Jeru Gobeze, RS Eden

Jeru from RS Eden/Fresh Grounds led young adults to master barista skills, improving their customer service, and creating success in the workplace. Jeru did a little bit of everything at Fresh Grounds, providing 1:1 training support for students and managing the café’s sales and revenue targets.

Jeru Gobeze, 2018 Winner


2017: Idalia Nuñez, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Through Idalia’s diligent efforts, SHFB's culinary training program has maintained a remarkable 100% job placement rate for graduates. Idalia is committed to the Life Skills portion of the curriculum and is "working tirelessly to secure sustainable streams of revenue to keep the program strong & meaningful.”

Idalia Nuñez, 2017 winner


2016: Tasheena Butler, Liberty's Kitchen

Tasheena Butler directs all culinary training activities for Liberty’s Kitchen’s Youth Development Program, providing disconnected youth with workforce and life skills training to become employed and self-sufficient. She is described by her colleagues as "the lynchpin of Liberty's Kitchen," a "charismatic leader" who is an innovative and skilled teacher.

Tasheena Butler, 2016 winner


2015: Chef Marianne Ali, DC Central Kitchen

The first recipient of this award is the very special Chef Marianne Ali, Director of Culinary Job Training at DCCK. Marianne has given her heart and talent to supporting the goals of DCCK students. Her work with students increased graduate average starting wages by more than $1 per hour.

Chef Marianne Ali, 2015 winner

Read On
The Catalyst Kitchens Blog

Let us guide & inspire your work with stories of student training successes from across the Catalyst Kitchens Network.