Lovin’ Oven is a baking and event services program that creates and sells delicious food made by our teens at parties and special events throughout Sonoma Valley. It also includes the Lovin’ Oven Culinary Academy, a cooking school that provides a hands-on work-based learning experience for teens who are interested in getting high-demand jobs in Sonoma’s ever-growing hospitality industry. However, it’s not limited to those interested in hospitality—teens gain a wide skill set that’s valuable for other industries as well!
Each week, teens in the Lovin’ Oven program prepare cookies to sell to local businesses and the public. They also have a weekly opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering to prepare a hot meal for the homeless clients of Sonoma Overnight Support.
In November, the Lovin’ Oven expands its menu to include fresh-baked pies made to order and ready for pick-up the day before Thanksgiving, as well as additional items like light appetizers, luncheon, and desserts.
Lovin’ Oven Culinary Academy (LOCA)
The Lovin’ Oven Culinary Academy offers a free 30-hour course 6 times a year, with 5-6 participants in each cohort. During this exciting educational course, teens participate in:
- ServSafe food handler classes
- Knife skills
- Commercial kitchen & equipment basics
- Cooking techniques, such as sautéing, stocks and sauces, roasting, braising, cooking grains and beans, and more
- Real-world experience
- Community service
- Customer service
- Front-of-house training (hosting, serving, and bussing tables)
- Creating and preparing for events
After completion of the program, teens receive a Culinary Certificate, job references, and a $100 stipend. They’ll also qualify for an interview with one of our hospitality partners, including Ramekins, the girl and the fig, and caterer Chef Bryan Jones.
Lovin’ Oven also provides catering services for noteworthy events, giving them first-hand experience in the hospitality industry while building skills like:
- Safe food-handling practices
- Proper service etiquette
- Guest service experience
- Articulate communication
- Soft skills, like showing up on time, attitude, listening, etc.
Some of the events our teens have catered to in the past include Impact100 Sonoma’s Awards Celebration, Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn’s Olive Bash, Transcendence Theatre Company’s Broadway Under the Stars, and TSS’s annual Cowboy Cab fundraiser.