Culinary Training and The Restaurant Edition Pilot

Chef Raquel offers an intensive culinary training course for your constituents and staff. The length of time, location, and curriculum can be tailored to best fit your goals and requirements.

A Pinch of Salt: The Restaurant Edition is a culinary training pilot voluntarily executed by Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo in order to support aspiring chefs achieve their culinary goals. The 12-week culinary course is at no cost to participating students. Each week an aspiring chef will lead their classmates and guests through the preparation of a menu item they would like to feature at their future food business. 

Chef Raquel recently completed A Pinch of Salt: The Restaurant Edition a 12 week hands-on culinary training program where low-income Bridgeport residents interested in food professionally could enhance their culinary skills and get a real-life glimpse of what it takes to serve the general public and operate a food business.

The community was asked to join in on a meal and hear the chef’s story after witnessing them in action!  The meals prepared were actual items that students are aspiring to showcase on their own food truck or restaurant establishment.  The long-term goal of Chef Raquel’s pilot program is to create community networks that will support future local Bridgeport-based food business.

A special thank you to Freddy Tomaj, owner of Milano Wine Bar & Pizzeria for generously providing his lovely space, supporting this project, and sharing the vision for uplifting small food business and the community of Bridgeport at large. Thank you to CallowLens and Recinotes for capturing photo footage of this unique venture. And lastly, thank you, the consumer, for your support and generosity. We are thrilled to serve you and our beloved Bridgeport community.

Wish to offer your community a culinary training program?  Email for pricing and information



Derrick Wilson, Sr. was born and raised in the Bronx and has 21 years of kitchen experience. He loves to make Baked Chicken Frittata with onions, garlic and broccoli; honey, jerk, mild spicy boneless chicken wings; and deep fried pretzel chicken with sweet potato waffles. His long-term goal is to own a food truck franchise specializing in all things chicken.

Donna Stewart-Eagles was born and raised in the City of Bridgeport and she has met people from many different ethnic groups and has had the pleasure of making and sampling assorted cultural dishes. She is a former Bridgeport Police Officer and has had the pleasure in protecting and serving the community for twenty five years. She loves cooking and making comfort foods like chicken and dumplings, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles. She loves bringing smiles to the faces of the people who I cook for and I love to hear how they enjoy the many delicious dishes that I have prepared for them. Her long-term goal to own a food truck specializing in comfort food.

A’Kia Cuthbertson was born and raised in Bridgeport, but her family is from the South. She was a former Little Kitchen Cook at BFresh. She loves to eat lasagna, but she loves cooking macaroni and cheese. Her long-term goal is to own a food truck, diner, and night club! Who doesn’t like a good meal after partying?!

Latoya Frierson was born and raised in Norwalk CT. Her family is from the South who came up North to have a better life. The whole reason she loves to cook is for her family. She can remember her great grandparents in the kitchen cooking up big family meals.

St. V. Padilla was born in Bridgeport but raised in Puerto Rico until he was 12 years old. He was a pre-school teacher for 12 years and then wanted to pursue his career as a chef. He took the Urban Eats class with Chef Raquel to take a step in that direction. His profession now is a photographer and he runs a business with her partner called Elements Of Illusion. He is also head varsity baseball coach at Bassick High School and a proud father of a 3 year old boy. His long-term goal is to have a thriving food truck. He also wants to get confident enough as a chef to go on the Food Network and compete in Chopped or other cooking competitions.

Paula Davis was born in Bridgeport and works at the Sacred Heart University cafeteria. She loves to make desserts and she loves to eat Italian food. Her long-term goal is to own a pastry shop.

Randy Jackson was born in Norwalk but raised in Bridgeport. He previously cooked for a shelter, for a mental health center, at Captain’s Cove and the Army. He loves to eat steak and a good salad. His long-term goal is to own a food truck or a restaurant.

Chef Raquel can provide a variety of intensive culinary training courses, for more details email