WomenCook! 2015 Menu Preview

Women's 11th Annual WomenCook! - Dining for a Difference Event

Menu Preview

Join Work Options for Women on April 27, 2015 for a one-of-a-kind menu prepared by some of Denver’s most renowned female chefs. Here is a sneak peak of some of the participating chefs and dishes they are preparing for this charitable event.

Letisha Steele
WaterCourse Bakery
All Gluten Free and Vegan
Lemon Rosemary Bars
Chocolate Eclair Cakes
Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts
Mary Nguyen
Parallel Seventeen and
Olive & Finch
Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps, Pickled Vegetables and Granny Smith Apples
Dana Rodriguez
Work & Class
Citrus-Halibut Ceviche with avocado mousse and tortilla chip
Aniedra Nichols
Elway’s Cherry Creek
Roasted Beet “Tartare”, Carrot Top Pesto, Grilled Bread Crostini
Jennifer Jasinski
Rioja, Euclid Hall, Bistro Vendôme and Stoic & Genuine
Pea and Ramp Risotto
Salmon Tartare
Lisa Bailey
D Bar
Avocado Fondue with Buttery Brioche Crouton

WomenCook Tickets

Temple Emanuel
51 Grape Street, Denver CO 80220
Monday, April 27, 2015
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.


100% of the funds raised at WomenCook! 2015 goes toward helping Work Options for Women with their mission to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry.


Work Options for Women: Winter Newsletter

Work Options for Women Newsletter

Cafe United

View of Cafe United

Work Options for Women (WOW) opened its third training site in October 2014. The café is located at the new Mile High United Way Morgridge Center for Community Change, at Park Avenue and California Street in the Curtis Park neighborhood right here in Denver. At Cafe United, we serve coffee, breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. To view the full menu, visit cafeunited.com.

Signature Salads

Cafe United’s Signature Salads



At Cafe United, WOW is able to offer students a higher level of training including barista, catering, and supervisory skills training. By obtaining these additional skill sets, and by having real-life experience in these roles, WOW students will become more competitive in the food service industry and seek jobs that pay a higher wage.
Also, 100% of the proceeds from your purchase will benefit Work Options for Women’s mission to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry.
Support Cafe United on Facebook. Go to http://www.facebook.com/CafeUnitedDenver and click the like button to get the latest news from Cafe United right to your news-feed.

Carrie Shores

Chef Carrie Shores

 Welcome to WOW Chef Carrie Shores
Before becoming the Chef Manager at Cafe Options this past November, Chef Carrie was the executive chef at Table 6 on E 6th Ave and Corona Street in Denver, Colorado.
As the executive chef at Table 6, Chef Carrie earned many accolades, including being admitted into the Denver Five’s exclusive lineup of Colorado’s most-extraordinary chefs of 2014. Chef Carrie is best known for her love of farm-to-table cuisine. In a recent interview with Westword she said, “Let’s focus on real food and real ingredients”, expressing her dislike of fake or imitation foods.
Chef Carrie spent many hours in the WOW kitchen as a volunteer before joining the WOW team, teaching unemployed and disadvantaged women culinary skills. Her mantra “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” rings in the minds of WOW’s students learning in our kitchens, her new home. Work Options for Women is very lucky to have her.
Hang out with Chef Carrie on April 7, 2015 for Work Options for Women’s April Cooking Class at Cafe Options. Chef Carrie will be leading the class, demonstrating some of her favorite recipes and answering your questions.
For more information about Cooking Classes at Cafe Options, visit workoptions.org/cookingclasses.

2014 Graduates

Some of the WOW graduating class of Fall 2014

Congratulations Fall 2014 Graduates
This past October, Work Options for Women honored sixteen students who have completed WOW’s Culinary Job Skills Training program and have been employed for at least three months. Each graduate was presented with an official Work Options for Women Graduation certificate and a brand new chef’s knife to get them started on their new career in the food service industry.
We could not be more proud of all our graduates. They have worked hard to overcome past barriers to employment and to learn culinary and job skills like: Kitchen Math, ServSafe and Knife Skills. With their new skills, confidence and chef’s knives, these graduates are fully equipped to be successful in gaining self-sufficiency.
After graduation, WOW graduates have the opportunity to continue their culinary education at WOW by attending Advanced Culinary & Supervisor Skills Training Courses. These courses are designed to help students become more competitive in the food service industry and seek jobs with higher wages and opportunities for advancement.

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Update: Raise $5,161 in 20 days

Thank you, for getting our campaign off to an amazing start!!

We can’t believe we are already over 58% funded after 15 days.

With the funds raised so far we will be able to buy an espresso machine for the new training station!! Thank you for believing in Work Options for Women and for being a part of our mission to empower under-served women through culinary job-training.


We need to raise an additional $2,168 in order to reach our goal of $5,161, which will allow us to complete the Barista Training Station at Cafe United. Please help us keep momentum going in the campaign by:

1) Emailing the campaign link, igg.me/at/WOWforSocialChange, to anyone who you think might be interested in contributing
2) Use the social icons on our campaign homepage to share through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
3) Add a comment to our campaign homepage and share why you believe in this work!
Thank you again for your support and being a part of the WOW community. Here’s to a successful campaign!

With Gratitude,
-WOW Staff, Students, Graduates and Board Members

Student Highlight: Maddie

Student Highlight: Maddie

Maddie finishing her shift at Café Options

Maddie finished the WOW program in October 2011 and was hired at Café Options in November 2011.

How did you hear about WOW?

I heard about it from my TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) BDA (Business Development Associate) in May 2011.  I had started my GED and still needed to complete some work hours every month.  I told him that I had a thing for cooking and he recommended the WOW program.  I passed the intake and started a couple of weeks after that.

What was your first impression of WOW? 

I was surprised that it existed.  I had been in the Denver Human Services building so many times and I had no idea they had a kitchen and cafeteria up there on the 3rd floor.

How has the WOW program changed you?

It changed me a lot.  I mean, I have a job now.  My kids go to day care.  I have something to do every morning.  I’m just more responsible.

What’s the biggest thing you learned in the program?

I have way better knife skills and I’m more careful about moving around sharp things.  I also know all the names of different kitchen utensils now – six pans, hotel sheets, cylinders, all this stuff.   I used to just say, “Hey, pass me that thing over there!”

Personally, I have more self-esteem.  I used to be all up in other people’s bubbles.  Now I feel confident to do my own a thing and be more respectful of others.  I like to keep in mind what’s going on with other people in their lives.  I still try to get other people to be happy, to get them to smile, but I’m calmer about it.  I can put my child side away now.  My kids and my friends still get that side of me though.

Can you tell me about going back to get your GED?

Last year, I was going to high school but just not getting much done.  I switched to the GED program and I just passed my science and social studies courses.  It works much better for me because it’s only twice a week, and the teachers help us out a lot more.  I’m much more of a visual learner and the style of teaching works better for me.  I should be completely done by May.

Is it hard to balance life with two children, a full-time job, and GED classes?

Honestly, it’s not that bad.  WOW set me up with CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program) that provides day care and they can even pick up my kids and drop them off.  It’s really not hard to balance.  You just can’t think about it too hard.  You set your mind to something and you do it.  I work because it’s just something that I have to do for myself and my kids.

What are three words to describe yourself?

Friendly, happy…and, I don’t know, let’s ask my co-workers. <They contribute helpful, ambitious!” >

What advice would you give to new students in the WOW program?

Take everything with a grain of salt and don’t take anything personally.  Everything is worth it in the end and you’ve just got to look at the big picture, but there will be hard days because you’re learning and changing your whole life around.

What’s your favorite dish to make?

Well, at home, it’s my famous Snickers Cake!  I made it off the top of my head one day, and now I make it every year for my friend’s birthday.  It’s basically a vanilla cake with a bottom layer of Snickers Bars…it’s so good!

At Café Options, I have to say I like to make the sandwiches, especially the Caprese.  It’s just so beautiful with all the colors of the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.

What’s next for you?

I’m thinking of taking more advanced culinary classes at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School.  Maybe become a sous chef!

WOW Celebrates Success of Ten Students at Graduation

Six graduates were present for the celebration

As the church became crowded with friends, family, and loved ones, Work Options for Women anxiously celebrated our second student graduation of 2011.  Ten students received their graduation certificates, and six were able to join us for an evening of celebration.  Well over sixty friends and family members showed up – proud, loyal, and supportive!

This is my second graduation since joining the Work Options for Women staff.  The emotion, pride, and admiration I have for these five women and one man are hard to express adequately.  Having the honor of personally interviewing each person and learning more about them and their journey through WOW, my heartstrings pulled in so many directions.  Biting my lip, I refused to breakdown, blinking back tears as details of the past were uncovered through basic questions.  What is your favorite thing to cook?  How did you learn about WOW?  List three words to describe yourself.  What is next for you? 

As these questions seemed simple enough, tangents would happen, taking me down roads I wasn’t prepared to follow.  One student had just lost their mother that very week.  One student came to WOW through a cousin who had completed the program five years ago – she joined WOW as a promise to her cousin to follow her dream of cooking (her cousin committed suicide a year ago).  One student is a veteran, an adoptive mother for children without a home.  Then there was the student who became her daughters’ role model after completing the program – showing them a different path.

Anna, a recent graduate, is employed at The Corner Office

One consistent message that I learned from each and every student that I spoke with…they are all happy.  Each student used that one word to describe themselves.  Though their lives have been thrown challenges and obstacles we can’t possibly comprehend, they are happy. 

I left graduation humbled, tears streaming down my face, but with an inner happiness that I love my job, I love what I do, and I love who I do it for.  Unfortunately, I must wait another six months before the next graduation, but I am already excited to meet our next round of students. 

Laurie Peterson, Director of Development of WOW

Intern Ready Student Wisdom… What Are Their Parting Words?

Every Friday afternoon WOW kitchen staff, case management staff, and the students gather to share what the students have learned in the past week and what they hope to learn or improve upon in the upcoming week. This special time is also used to honor any WOW student who has completed his or her 12 weeks of training in the WOW kitchen and is moving on to an internship at Café Options. It is amazing what the staff has learned from the students and what the students have learned about themselves in their short 12 week stay. After recording several weeks of bittersweet good-byes, these are some examples of wisdom shared by the students:

  • If there is one thing I can pass on, it’s don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • I am a bit emotional right now because I want you all to know that this is the first thing I have ever finished in my life. I came, I worked hard and I completed it!
  • One student wrote a poem inspired by her time in the program and then left her classmates with a message about patience: If you are working on getting to where you want to be, know you must have patience. Things will work out.
  • I just want to thank the chefs for being here. I know with their talent they could be working in any restaurant, but they choose to be here teaching us every day. I am grateful for their choice.
  • If I can do this, you [current WOW students] can do this too!
  • I can now confidently say I can name all 5 mother sauces. Béchamel, velouté, espagnole (brown), tomato and hollandaise!
  • Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I have made many friends and I am looking forward to seeing where this training is going to take me!
  • When choosing to do this program, I looked at it this way: Four months down the road is going to come no matter what. I could either have this training under my belt or I could be in the same spot I was in four months ago. I’d rather have the training!

The WOW team is very proud of what these incredible interns have overcome and achieved.