As Bob Jones welcomed the school and business officials, he shared some information about the marketing arm of Chef’s Garden, one of the initial business partners in the new Edison initiative. Edison Works is aimed at connecting students with employers and preparing young people for having the skills necessary to obtain a stable job in the area.
The Culinary Vegetable Institute, a family-owned business in Milan Township, produces and packages about 600 different products for 50 states and 17 countries.
“We ship produce to Hong Kong twice a week,” Jones said. “We don’t warehouse anything; it’s shipped to order.”
Several people chuckled when Jones said it’s a far cry from when, as a boy, he thought it was a big deal to go to Cleveland for fresh food.
The Culinary Vegetable Institute describes itself on its website as a “world-class educational, research and event facility designed to inspire every person who walks through its doors (where) forward-thinking chefs from around the globe convene … to share their knowledge, host culinary events, research new techniques and learn about vegetables from the culinary center’s devoted team of chefs and growers.”
Behind the meeting room in the main building is a massive kitchen with a dining room off to the side. Jones said the space is designed for cooks and “builds syngery between the customers and farmer.”
With about 500 cooks visiting the facility each year, he said they often are inspired to work while on-site, so they can spend the night or a couple days at the facility. Jones also informed the school business officials that the cooking industry is based on a hierarchy in which one has to work his or her way up from dishwasher to being a chef.
The cooks who visit the Culinary Vegetable Institute stay in an upstairs suite while Jones said there are living quarters downstairs for other guests.
The suite includes a sofa, flat-screen television, kitchenette, small kitchen table and full bathroom. There is a whirlpool-style bathtub on a platform behind the bed. Also on the second floor is a small library full of books about agriculture, farming and culinary techniques.
For more about the the Culinary Vegetable Institute, go to https://culinaryvegetableinstitute.com/main.