Cooking Up Culinary Careers

Teach Me to Fish eyes Alberta Street expansion

Christa McIntyre | 3/21/2017, 4:39 p.m.
E.D. Mondainé and his Teach Me to Fish nonprofit organization are cooking up a new venture following the success of ...
Po’Shines founder E.D. Mondainé and his nonprofit Teach Me to Fish organization have launched a kick starter campaign to open a culinary school at 501 N.E. Alberta St.

E.D. Mondainé and his Teach Me to Fish nonprofit organization are cooking up a new venture following the success of his Po’Shines Café De La Soul restaurants in Portland, a catering clinic and culinary school which will offer on-the-job training with investments back into the community.

Since 1988, the senior pastor at Celebration Tabernacle, a multiracial and multiethnic non-denominational congregation in the Kenton Neighborhood of north Portland, has been on a mission to create businesses and cultural institutions which foster employment skills and financial independence in the black community.

Teach Me to Fish is at the heart of those operations as an outreach program that gives at risk youth and adults training in job and life skills, empowering the underserved with guided training in the workplace, life and culinary arts.

The name comes from the old saying: "Give a man to fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

Starting with a coffee shop, which grew to a chain of soul food cafes in St. Johns, Kenton and the Moda Center, Po’Shines Catering Clinic and Culinary School will be the biggest project yet that Mondainé has on the table.

The plans envision one class of 10-15 people for each graduation.

“My hope is to have a broad demographic, it’s kind of fairytale thinking, but I’d like to see a group as diverse as ages 18 to 60. That makes up an entire family. It makes up an entire village,” Mondainé told the Portland Observer.

As part of the planned 18 month curriculum, the students would develop an aggressive business plan while learning culinary skills. They’ll be taught professional skills such as business projection, business planning, marketing and research. Three students would be chosen by lottery to start, operate and own their own eating establishments, with five percent of the revenues being reinvested back into the culinary school to benefit future students.

The overall goal would be to place all of the graduates in competitive jobs in the hospitality industry.

“When you graduate from our school, you’re top drawer. Our curriculum is one of the toughest, I’ve ever seen,” Mondainé said.

He said Chef Bruce McFarlane of the famed Wellington Academy flew from England to help Po’Shines develop the course of study.

Teach Me to Fish has secured a space for the catering clinic and culinary school kitchen in a building owned by Central City Concern at 501 N.E. Alberta St. The space came with some restaurant equipment.

Mondainé also is excited to see the catering clinic and culinary school as an avenue to bring black culture back to the heavily gentrified Alberta neighborhood.

A kick starter campaign is underway to raise the necessary donations for the venture to get off the ground this spring. You can help and learn more by going to a Go Fund Me account that is linked to the Po’Shines website at poshines.com.