Previous Next
Opportunity: Short-term volunteer travel projects in New Orleans

Organization: Culinary Corps

Organization Overview:

“My elevator speech is ‘Culinary Corps is the Peace Corps for cooks,’ says founder and director Christine Carroll. Carroll, a professional chef, founded Culinary Corps in 2006 after attending a conference in New Orleans and identifying a gap in the existing volunteer services.

Carroll has a long history of volunteer experience. When she was 18, she worked in Alaska as a member of the AmeriCorps VISTA Program. “I had few applicable skills as a college student,” she says, “but now, as a seasoned cook, I do. Unfortunately, culinary professionals are not tapped for immersion volunteer projects as often as they could be. I wanted to provide opportunities for cooks to use their talents to make a difference.”

The result is Culinary Corps, which designs, organizes, and facilitates volunteer experiences for skilled culinary students and chefs.

Photo by sparkyluma


Opportunity Overview:

Currently, Culinary Corps’ efforts are focused on providing services in New Orleans, and the next trip is scheduled for June 1-6, 2008. Volunteers pay their travel expenses to and from New Orleans in addition to a nominal fee that covers on-the-ground expenses (housing, meals, and ground transportation).

The trip is an intense, active, hands-on experience in which participants prepare meals for volunteers and community members, as well as coordinate food-related events with community partners (past events have included food field days for local schools and a fundraising brunch for a community-supported agriculture program). The emphasis of every project is respecting the local culture’s culinary traditions, creating sustainable connections between volunteers and community members, and supporting rebuilding efforts through collaboration and “culanthropy.”


Ideal Volunteer Profile:

-21+ years of age

-Advanced cooking skills, with professional cooking experience preferred

-Hard-working, collaborative, spirited, patient, sensitive, responsible, flexible, and invested in the organization’s core values

Expectations of Volunteers:

Volunteers are expected to work together as a diverse team to fulfill each day’s cooking tasks, as well as participate in all planned activities with community hosts and partners.

Photo by sparkyluma

Bonus Points for Culinary Corps!

-Lodging is provided by Xavier University, a historically black university with the ultimate purpose of promoting a more just and humane society.

-Each trip involves hands-on learning experiences for participants. Culinary Corps provides a pre-trip package with resources about local food and local culture, and organizes events that bring participants into direct contact with both. Past events have included a tour of the Crescent City Farmer’s Market and meals with the curator from The Southern Food and Beverage Museum.

-Culinary Corps is currently planning expansion of its volunteer activities to include a service trip to Nicaragua in November, 2008.

Details:

For full details about Culinary Corps and to download an application and instructions, please visit http://culinarycorps.org. (The application for the June 2008 trip will be available March 1).


Feel Good Story:

Angela Sagabaen relocated to New Orleans after her March 2007 trip with Culinary Corps, and is now working as a test kitchen chef at Emeril’s Homebase. She reflects upon her experiences: “I did my deed and felt good about my volunteering efforts, which I hadn’t felt in a long time working with other organizations or in restaurants. I worked hard and got little sleep, but I also laughed and played hard. And in the end, I think that is the point of [CulinaryCorps]…to not only help your fellow man, but to create warm and meaningful relationships during the process that not only makes another person’s world brighter, but yours as well.”

Volunteer Guides


 

About The Author

Julie Schwietert

Julie Schwietert Collazo is a writer, editor, researcher, and translator currently in New York, formerly of Mexico City and San Juan.

  • Lola

    Julie – Very cool volunteer concept! Thanks for profiling this org.

  • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola

    Julie – Very cool volunteer concept! Thanks for profiling this org.

  • Julie

    Thanks, Lola. And stay tuned… founder and director Christine Carroll has some exciting plans in the work to expand to other sites, including some sites outside the US!

  • http://www.collazoprojects.com Julie

    Thanks, Lola. And stay tuned… founder and director Christine Carroll has some exciting plans in the work to expand to other sites, including some sites outside the US!

  • Kate

    What a creative idea and awesome organization! If only I could cook.

  • http://bethechangeinc.org/changewire Kate

    What a creative idea and awesome organization! If only I could cook.

  • Pingback: Daily News Roundup | Change / Wire

  • Pingback: Do You Roux? » Collazo Projects

  • Lin Anderson

    I'm a professional cook, but not a chef. I cannot lift or take a full time job, now, as I have problems with my neck. Am I too useless? I have a passport and most shots.

  • Lin Anderson

    I’m a professional cook, but not a chef. I cannot lift or take a full time job, now, as I have problems with my neck. Am I too useless? I have a passport and most shots.

  • Joe

    Excellent initiatives…in my latest research I have been coming across so many volunteer/travel projects similar to this and it is a real inspiration to see the variety of contributions throughout the world.

  • http://www.terracurve.com Joe

    Excellent initiatives…in my latest research I have been coming across so many volunteer/travel projects similar to this and it is a real inspiration to see the variety of contributions throughout the world.

  • Andrew

    Joe, could you post what you have found so far? Or anyone else for that matter. Thanks

  • Marilyn Terrell

    Christine Carroll's sister Allie wrote more about the recent Culinary Corps trip here:
    http://intelligenttravel.typepad.com/it/2008/05/g

  • http://intelligenttravel.typepad.com Marilyn Terrell

    Christine Carroll’s sister Allie wrote more about the recent Culinary Corps trip here:
    http://intelligenttravel.typepad.com/it/2008/05/good-will-throu.html

  • Julie

    Lin-

    Sorry that I didn't see your post sooner. Professional cooks are also welcome. Please contact Christine Carroll, the Culinary Corps founder and director, through her website at http://www.culinarycorps.org

  • http://www.collazoprojects.com Julie

    Lin-

    Sorry that I didn’t see your post sooner. Professional cooks are also welcome. Please contact Christine Carroll, the Culinary Corps founder and director, through her website at http://www.culinarycorps.org

  • David pounds

    Hi I can cook and work anywere in the world !! Maybe too old at 52 but rely want to help if possible fit and able for anything and have British passport could start asap as my business in the uk is very quite right now . please call or email me on+447866457027 or Davidpounds@btinternet.com

  • Pingback: How To Make Backcountry Pancakes…With Beer!

  • Pingback: How To Broil Delicious Food Like The Professionals | girls cooking

  • Pingback: Latest culinary university news – University Chef-Lecturer wins Recipe Competition – University of Derby

  • Pingback: Latest culinary university news – The Peace Corps for Cooks: Volunteer Travel with the Culinary Corps

Thinking of joining the Peace Corps? Think harder.
The Culinary Corps, dubbed the "Peace Corps for Cooks," makes annual trips to the Gulf...
"The application process . . . has given me an opportunity to examine my life and future...
Abbie Mood gives some good alternatives to volunteering in the Peace Corps.
It's hard to not want to join the ranks of the rock-star volunteer.
Hal Amen identifies 5 reasons why taking a break isn't such a bad idea.
Seattle filmmaker, Kieth Rivers travels to Senegal with World Vision and captures his...
Experienced volunteer Megan Wood offers advice on what to pack for two years of Peace...
The first article in a series about a year spent volunteering.
Jacqui Bryant rounds up volunteering opportunities in Boston.
You’re serious about working with an NGO abroad; here's how to stand out from the crowd.
Recommended conservation, wildlife, and community development projects.