FareStart began in 1992, when founder David Lee realized that homeless people needed more than just food. His innovative job-training program has changed the lives of nearly 7,000 disadvantaged individuals so far. After men, women, and teens complete free food-service training—which includes life-skills training and individual case management—they can take advantage of job-placement services. Graduates of the program boast a 90% employment rate, with some even ending up at the FareStart restaurant on Virginia Street. During their training, students get on-the-job experience at FareStart Cafe.
Beginning at 7:30 a.m. Monday–Friday, the FareStart cooks start churning out quiches, breakfast sandwiches, and fresh bagels. Lunch, which stretches into early evening hours Monday–Thursday, features hot and cold sandwiches, such as a grilled-zucchini sandwich with hummus or a chicken-curry-salad sandwich topped with dried cranberries and a spring mix.
Designed specifically for homeless and disadvantaged youths, the FareStart Barista Training & Education Program opens up a vital career path for teens. The espresso machines at the café are manned by trainees in this program, who brew lattes, americanos, and cappuccinos for caffeine-hungry customers. Pro tip: if you bring your own cup, you’ll get a steep discount on a double-shot of espresso or a drip coffee.
Eat Local?s chefs create locally-sourced meals from scratch, and teach cooking students how to do the same. Every item on the menu is handmade using Northwest grass-fed meats, free-range chickens, and organic or sustainably-grown local produce. The staff places food items in biodegradable packaging or reusable glass containers, and, for cooked meals, freezes them to maintain flavor and quality. Eat Local Frozen Meals can be bought in-store or packed in dry ice and shipped to individual doorsteps or rabbit holes. Those jonesing to make their own edibles can enroll in classes that guide the creation of pasta, pies, and even marshmallows.
Seattle Can Can owner and instructor Vic Phelps has put up produce in her kitchens for more than 35 years and happily imparts her tricks and techniques to all levels of curious canners. Vic reaches into her deep knowledge of equipment, canning physics, and the favorite Frank Sinatra songs of strawberries to teach classes on pickling, jams, and all-purpose canning for novice or experienced produce preservers.
Purchase, prepare, and polish off S.O.L.E. (sustainable, organic, local, and ethical) food at the local foodie soul of the city: the world-famous Pike Place Market. With today’s Groupon, $28 gets you a $45 two-hour ‘Lunch and Learn’ cooking class at Diane’s Market Kitchen, just four blocks south of the legendary market at 1101 Post Alley ($50 with tax included).