The Kind Kitchen Group is a culinary nonprofit founded in Durham, NC in 2023 by Chef Sicily Sierra Johnson and Chef Melanie Wilkerson. Our mission is using food education and hunger relief programs to empower communities.
Our Chef Founders desire to uplift community members through every step of their culinary journey - from eager student chef to savvy entrepreneur to satisfied diner. Food education, small business consulting, and hunger relief efforts allow The Kind Kitchen Group to make a positive impact across our city.
how we do it
The Kind Kitchen Group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to nourishing our community through culinary education, hunger relief, and small business support.
Empowering youth and young adults by providing hands-on culinary training and essential life skills.
Supporting small food businesses as they navigate entrepreneurship, drawing on our experience with what we've gotten right and wrong.
Providing hunger relief through ready-to-eat meals, cooking lessons, and accessible nutritional education.
And first round of funding needs
The Kind Kitchen Group is actively running the Young Cooks Society, an impactful 28-week culinary training program for middle school students at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, NC. This after-school initiative provides hands-on cooking lessons, food education, and mentoring to empower underserved youth. Students gain valuable life skills and are immersed in all aspects of food, from planting seeds in their in-school teaching garden to serving a culminating farm-to-table dinner.
The Kind Kitchen Group aims to raise $250,000 to fund the rollout of this transformative program for the 2022-2023 school year. Donations will provide kitchen equipment, ingredients, staffing, supplies, and transportation. Our goal is to meet students where they are, equipping them with culinary abilities and food knowledge. With support, the Young Cooks Society can continue nurturing the next generation's passion for the culinary arts.
The Young Cook's Society empowers youth and young adults through hands-on culinary education and life skills training.
learn more about
The Young Cook’s Society
Our after-school and summer programs teach core cooking techniques, nutrition knowledge, food culture, and culinary arts to middle and high school students in an engaging, inclusive environment.
Led by expert chef instructors and youth development professionals, The Young Cook's Society empowers youth and young adults through hands-on culinary education and life skills training.
Our curriculum builds confidence in the kitchen, food literacy, and community awareness while allowing students to nurture their talents and passions. Beyond cooking skills, our mentoring relationships and interactive lessons develop critical thinking, communication, cultural appreciation, and leadership in youth. We believe cooking should be accessible to all as a means of purpose, self-growth, and social change.
how to donate
The Kind Kitchen Group is currently fundraising in rounds and will soon launch a campaign to seek investment.
Our active educational program, The Young Cook's Society, is also fundraising. This program teaches culinary skills, nutrition knowledge, and essential life lessons to youth and young adults in our community
The Young Cook's Society requires $250,000 in immediate funding to continue our impactful after-school culinary program for middle school youth at a Durham, NC public school. Currently, we serve 16 student cooks in our 28-week program during the 2023-2024 academic year.
Unlock potential & Feed curiosity
This funding will provide for two culinary instructor salaries, food costs, necessary equipment, our school teaching garden, and a celebratory final dinner. With your support, we can empower another group of teens with practical cooking abilities, nutrition knowledge, and life skills that will benefit them for years to come.
Our engaging culinary curriculum helps youth discover passions, connect with mentors, and make positive impacts in their communities. Please consider donating to help us nurture the next generation of talented young chefs and changemakers.
The Kind Kitchen Group is embarking on an exciting $16 million project to transform a 30,000 square foot warehouse in Durham into a shared commercial kitchen space and culinary business incubator. This facility will provide affordable licensed kitchen access to enable 40+ local food entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses while also expanding The Kind Kitchen Group's capacity for culinary education and workforce training programs. The Kind Kitchen Group aims to create jobs, empower entrepreneurs, boost the local food economy, and strengthen the Durham community through this innovative incubator.
The Underground Chef Society - Kitchen Collective empowers culinary entrepreneurs in Durham, NC by providing affordable access to a shared commercial kitchen, business training, mentoring, and networking opportunities. We support food businesses from all backgrounds to grow sustainable careers and ventures that positively impact the community, drawing on our experience with what we've gotten right and wrong.
Our mission is to build a collaborative community where entrepreneurs uplift each other through shared knowledge and open access to professional kitchen facilities. We draw on our own experiences navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship to guide and empower the next generation of food startups. At The Underground Chef Society, we're stirring up the future of culinary entrepreneurship in Durham, one business at a time.
Where renegade chefs gather to stir up success.
The Underground Chef Society -
unites Durham's culinary innovators in a shared space to turn food passions into purpose.
At For the Pantry
Our mission is to alleviate hunger and food insecurity in our community by providing nutritious, shelf-stable food and pantry staples to people in need. We aim to empower individuals and families facing poverty, illness, or difficult circumstances with the resources to prepare healthy, satisfying meals with dignity. Our vision is a future where no one in our community goes hungry. With your support, For the Pantry can continue bridging the meal gap and making progress toward a community free of food insecurity.
Connection is key
The Sandwich Ministry aims to nourish community and bring people together through the simplicity of thoughtfully crafted sandwiches rooted in nostalgia and technique. Led by Chef Sicily Sierra and Chef Melanie, we celebrate the principles of cooking by showcasing high-quality, seasonal ingredients between slices of bread. Our vision is to grow into a welcoming neighborhood hub and eventual small chain of shops emphasizing sustainability and community through excellent, straightforward sandwiches. At The Sandwich Ministry, sandwiches are our jam and our ministry.