City College culinary students to play key role in next earthquake


This is a very ambitious program. Organizers say between the culinary students at City College and the Salvation Army, they could feed about 50,000 people a day in the event of a major earthquake, but the seeds of this program are just getting started.

ABC7 News got a look inside the kitchen below the Educated Palate restaurant, completely operated by City College Culinary Art Students. This kitchen and three others in City College's system will soon be sites where up to 13,000 meals could be prepared for San Franciscans in the event of a major earthquake. The 450 students in the program will become emergency responders to set up the kitchens, cook and dole out the meals.

City College culinary arts student Kimberly Miramontes says she's ready.

"Because we're already part of the program. They have out contact information. You know, even if we're not at school, if something were to happen, they're able to contact this big source of labor," she said.

The plan is still being cooked up. Tannis Reinhertz, the director of the culinary arts program, says the school's kitchens and students will be able to support other agencies that are part of the city's emergency management system.

"We want to be able to open these kitchens and use them for first responders, to prepare soup, whatever is needed to feed citizens of San Francisco," said Reinhertz.

Those students will work at the college's kitchens, but also help fill in any gaps at places like the Salvation Army kitchen on Harrison Street, where Anthony Pardi is the chef.

"This kitchen can produce up to 30,000 meals in a 24 hour period," said Pardi.

The culinary arts program is just the first step in this ambitious program to enlist and train some of the 85,000 plus students who attend City College as first responders. Francis Zamora is with the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. He says they're studying how best to use the college's kitchens and students.

"We're interested. You know, they have these facilities. We have a number of facilities that we work with," said Zamora.

But the college is also working with the city to become a Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, or NERT. They're also planning a way to use the college's nursing students to help at area hospitals and law enforcement students to help police and firefighters.

Now the meals were talking about very basic, like soup, bread and water. The college plans to make a formal announcement of this program next week, in hopes of having most of it up and running by this time next year.

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