With the help of promotional efforts from Wake Forest entrepreneurial students, Providence Restaurant of Winston-Salem hosted a Student Night on April 8.
As part of a community outreach project for their Social Entrepreneurship class, Gabby Henriksen, Kate Lair, Will May, Imani Menard and Madison Van De Hey participated.
“Our goal is to get more students to find out about Chef [Jeff] Bacon and Providence Restaurant,” junior Imani Menard said. “It’s an excellent cause close to campus.”
Bacon is the executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank’s Providence Restaurant and Catering, located on University Parkway. He is also the leader of the Triad Community Kitchen Culinary Training Program, where the unemployed, homeless or those with criminal backgrounds can be trained in catering production, kitchen safety, basic culinary skills and workplace readiness to increase their likelihood of success following the program.
“Eighty percent of our graduates get jobs after completing the program and 67 percent have a one-year retention, which is amazing considering where some of the participants start out,” Bacon said.
As part of a paid Hospitality Residency Program, Providence offers selected culinary graduates of the program the opportunity to further their professional development.
As part of the entrepreneurship students’ efforts, many other Wake Forest students gathered on the Student Night for free appetizers and drinks. They also received 20 percent off their meal as part of the promotion.
“We created a Facebook event to get the word out to students,” Menard said. “[Bacon] also told us other ideas Provincial Restaurant offers, like catering for graduation, Wake ‘n Shake and having potential staff and student nights.”
Junior Kate Lair explained that collaborating with the nonprofit was an opportunity for students to create stronger ties between the university and the community.
“Provost Kersh was also inspirational in helping us develop our project, as he explained the significance of food as means of bringing all kinds of people together,” Lair said. “We definitely had a Pro Humanitate mindset when developing this student event with Providence Restaurant.”