Oluwatimilehin Salakoh’s favorite part of creating food is getting to see the eater’s reaction.

“It’s one of the greatest feelings,” he said. “I want you to enjoy it, rave about it, want to come back and get a good value for the money that you spent and work hard for.”

Salakoh is a graduate of the culinary employment program, formerly at One80 Place. Its goal was to teach kitchen skills to unhoused residents in order to help them find employment. Salakoh stayed at the shelter for several months after moving to the area.

Several of the program’s alumni work in the prep kitchen at Charleston Wine + Food each year, including Takara Mitchell. Mitchell, a formerly unhoused military veteran, credits the program with her ability to now provide financially for herself and her children.

“They get to see me actually take care of them now,” she said. “They don’t have to see me struggle.”

Angie Colyer-Dupree used to oversee the program at One80 Place.

“They’re so excited to be here,” she said. “They get paid a great wage to be here, so the hours and the money are also there to support their lives.”

The culinary employment program at One80 Place ceased this past year. Chief Development Office Lara LeRoy said the program ended partly so the non-profit could further focus on its mission of ending and preventing homelessness.