If you have attended one of the events in the Altavista Asheville office, you have probably enjoyed some of Chef Eric Cox’s culinary talent. He and his team in their crisp white chef uniforms work busily in our tiny Asheville kitchen prepping plates and platters down to the end of our hallway.
Chef Eric Cox has become part of the Altavista family over the last 5 years. Eric is a graduate of the respected Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College (AB Tech) culinary program. He is an instructor at AB Tech and Director of Food Service Operations for Asheville Buncombe County Christian Ministries (ABCCM). Eric has landed in his most meaningful career role as the culinary instructor at the Veterans Restoration Quarters (VRQ) in East Asheville. The former Super 8 Motel was transformed in 2008 to a 240 bed transitional housing facility offering free room and board to male veterans in addition to counseling, job training, case management and transportation to the VA hospital.
Chef Cox is a key player in the restoration of these homeless veterans’ lives. In addition to coordinating the volunteer efforts of community members who assist in preparing 3 meals daily at the VRQ, he has an ongoing 26 week curriculum teaching veterans essential kitchen and culinary skills. The final exam is a 5 course gourmet meal prepared and served in a formal setting at the VRQ. Nearly 100% of the culinary course graduates from both the VRQ and the Steadfast House (facility for homeless female veterans) have been successful in job placement.
Chef Cox serves not just as a teacher, but as a mentor for these veterans as they get back on their feet and regain their livelihood and dignity. “These men and women gave everything they could serving in the military. Now we need to give back as much as possible” Eric states. We are fortunate to know Chef Eric Cox and witness the professionalism and poise his veteran teams embody.
For more information on this program visit the website for the Veteran’s Restoration Quarters through ABCCM.