CulinaryCorps is Christine Carroll’s version of a Peace Corps for chefs. Since 2007, she’s been leading volunteer trips to areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, particularly New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A former professional cook, she believes that the chef community can be an excellent resource for a part of America that prides itself on its food heritage.
So far, six groups of chefs, about a dozen at a time, have gone on CulinaryCorps missions. Among their projects: making meals for Habitat for Humanity workers and helping launch a program that teaches at-risk youth about working in a kitchen. The only problem? So many chefs are now interested in volunteering that “I actually have to tell people they can’t come back,” says Carroll; instead, she encourages chefs to start projects in their hometowns.
Carroll is looking to expand CulinaryCorps’s reach with a winter trip to Puerto Rico, but she still plans to faithfully bring chefs to the Gulf Coast each year. culinarycorps.org.