Queens Public Library is now accepting applications for Queens FEASTS, its culinary program that offers training and mentorship for people seeking to start or grow their food businesses.
The Food Entrepreneurship and Services Training Space (FEASTS) has proven so successful since 2016, teaching students on how to be successful in today’s highly competitive food industry, that QPL, the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced in March that the program would be expanded to more library branches.
Those interested can now apply on QPL’s website for any of the 12-week courses offered at the following branches: Central at 89-11 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica, where FEASTS originated will offer the program in fall 2019, winter 2019 and spring 2020; Long Island City at 37-44 21st St. in fall 2019; Flushing at 41-17 Main St. in winter 2019; and the Queens Library for Teens at 2002 Cornaga Ave. in Far Rockaway in spring 2020.
“QPL is thrilled to assist people looking to build their food business,” Queens FEASTS Manager Monique Hector said. “This program helps them meet their aspirations, while contributing to one of New York City’s most vital industries.”
Initially known as Jamaica FEASTS, the expansion followed a spike in the number of interested applicants, nearly 60 percent of whom lived outside the greater Jamaica area.
“With the expansion to other communities in Queens, more of our customers will have the opportunity to meet their ambition to thrive in New York City’s most dynamic sectors,” QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott said.
Graduates of the program have received Vendy Awards and Good Food Award, have been showcased at the NYC Wine and Food Festival, and have participated at major events including the Queens International Night Market and the Brooklyn Army Terminal Centennial Celebration.
“FEASTS has played a pivotal role in proving training and business development to support the next generation of culinary entrepreneurs in Queens,” NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said. “This program’s success is evidenced by the number of students who have grown their businesses, and in turn are helping to create new jobs and strengthen local economies.”
Participants learn the fundamentals of the food industry through interactive workshops and training, gain insight from industry experts, and receive one-on-one individual assistance from counselors. The Flushing course will offer training in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).