Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager

Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager

Recovery Café San Jose (RCSJ) is a healing community for those traumatized by homelessness, addiction and mental health challenges. In its 5th year, RCSJ recently completed a $1.3 million renovation and is seeking a dynamic leader to step into the exciting expansion of our transformational community, which is saving lives. RCSJ is looking for someone to join us as it continues the strong program momentum that supports the recovery and dignity of the members. RCSJ’s Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager will be a person with an unwavering emotional commitment to building a healing community for those traumatized by addiction, homelessness, and mental health challenges. RCSJ is based upon a proven and successful model adapted from the original Recovery Café in Seattle, is part of a growing Recovery Café Network and spreading across the country, and is innovating new programs to engage its 175 members (and growing). For more information on RCSJ, please visit  

The Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager is responsible for ensuring Café members have access to ten healthy and nutritious meals each week, and that the Café operates according to all relevant food and health safety regulations. The Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager supervises volunteers in the kitchen and keeps inventories of food and supplies and is responsible for planning and preparing daily meals and instructing members in the culinary arts in School for Recovery classes and in the Community Participation Program.

Days and hours: The Café itself (once fully implemented) will be open Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00-6:00, with lunch and dinner served each day. The Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager ensures all meal shifts are scheduled and covered (including set-up and clean-up time), and will be flexible in being able to cover evening and/or Saturday shifts. The Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager will work 40 hours/weekly.

Reports to: Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager reports to Program Director

Job Responsibilities:

Preparation of Café Meals

  • Oversight of the preparation of meals (ten per week). Each meal will serve up to 80 people in a buffet service line with set meal times. Occasional meals (such as for holidays or special occasions) may be plated and served.
  • Support and engage Café members and community volunteers in meal preparation.
  • Ability to prepare a wide range of foods, including proteins, starches, vegetables, fruits, and ethnic variations, from limited resources, such as food that comes from Food Banks, and limited budget to purchase additional foods.
  • Understands and consistently implements food safety practices in preparation and serving of meals, and assures that staff, volunteers, and members follow food safety guidelines. 

Inventory and Kitchen Maintenance: 

  • Work with Program Director to maintain inventory of food and cleaning supplies; take weekly inventory and turn in report to Program Director.
  • Work with Program Director and Café Manager to assure that kitchen, cleaning, and service supplies are stocked, organized and maintained.
  • Pick up Café food at the Second Harvest Food Bank, Veggielution, or other sources, as needed. 
  • Responsible for the cleanliness of the kitchen, pantry, service island, and surrounding areas. May utilize Café members to assist in cleaning, but must assure an adequate cleaning process.
    • Cleaning includes; mopping all areas at least weekly, kitchen daily, refrigerators full clean weekly, stove and cabinets deep clean monthly.
  • Maintains, cleans, and keeps in good working order all Café cleaning equipment (e.g. – mops, brooms, towels, etc).

Café Member Support:

  • At RCSJ, nobody is purely “back of house.” All staff work to develop healthy, caring, and supportive relationships with Café members. 
  • The Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager achieves the above objective through teaching classes in the School for Recovery, including: Food Safety (leading to CA Food Handlers Certification), Basic Cooking Skills (home cooking), through advanced kitchen and commercial cooking skills courses for members in the hospitality career training tracks in the Community Participation Program.
  • Take part in staff meetings as a contributor in building the RCSJ community and vision. Help in the development of RCSJ policies and procedures, as related to the kitchen and training areas.

Partner/Vendor Relations:

  • Work with program partners (both nonprofit and corporate) in continued development of the hospitality career training track, preparing members for entry level hospitality employment.
  • Manages relationships with vendors, such as for kitchen equipment repair and grease trap cleaning.
  • Manages partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank through online food ordering system, submitting monthly reports and responding to all requests in a timely manner.

Required for this position: 

  • Food Safety Management Certification
  • Ability to create menus
  • Ability to create cooking class curriculum and teach members cooking fundamentals  
  • 3-5 years’ experience in a commercial food service setting (restaurant, catering, coffee shop)
  • Passionate and enthusiastic about creating healthy and delicious food for Café community
  • Industrious, hard worker, ability to lift 50 lbs., and to be on feet for six+ hours
  • Personal understanding of, and sensitivity to, the recovery journey, and ability to embody principles of recovery in daily interactions
  • Ability to work amicably on a diverse staff team with flexibility, creativity and enthusiasm
  • Must have strong interpersonal communications skills

Additional Desired Qualities: 

  • Bilingual – Spanish and English
  • Knowledge of, and connections in, the food service industry locally
  • If the candidate is in recovery from alcohol and/or other substances, at least one year of continuous sobriety is required 
  • Previous experience in a social service agency and with populations struggling with homelessness, addiction, and/or mental health concerns
  • Ability to consistently serve as a motivator, conflict resolver, and “de-escalator” for both staff and members

Compensation and Benefits:

The Culinary and Kitchen Program Manager role at Recovery Café San Jose is an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a pivotal role in the evolution and growth of RCSJ. The organization offers a competitive salary and benefits package. 

To apply send resume and cover letter to