Youth currently in programming and recent UTEC graduates are the true heart of Cafe UTEC. They prepare the delicious menu items, staff the counter, water the herbs and vegetables growing right outside the door, and so much more. They also learn the business side of restaurant management as they work with senior staff on inventory management, accounting, and menu development. Come by to say hello!
Kodi Semon - Culinary Program Manager
Kodi grew up on a small island a short ferry ride from Seattle, Washington. From 2000-2004 she was hugely involved in a teen drop-in center similar to UTEC. Serving on the Teen Board for three years, two as President, she organized fundraisers, after school events, concerts and community outreach projects. Simultaneously, Kodi worked part time at a local retirement center, climbing the kitchen ladder from dishwasher to supervisor. In 2006 Kodi graduated at the top of her class from the Seattle Culinary Academy. She has spent seven years in fine dining hotel kitchens mastering production, event execution and culinary administration management. She is incredibly thankful to have this opportunity to combine both of her life's passions. "If you can find something you love to do and get paid for it, you'll never work a day in your life."
Café UTEC was conceived as another way to expand UTEC's Workforce Development Program. In 2006, UTEC changed its program model to incorporate workforce skills and education into the center. This action was taken as a response to UTEC youth wanting to gain more skills while still having the safe haven that they know and love. In 2013, UTEC hired Sam Putnam as our Culinary Innovator to expand our Food Service enterprise to reach additional customers and launch Café UTEC. Staff, community partners, of course all of the youth in the program are thrilled that our Café UTEC dream is now a reality!
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