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CHOW (Culinary Hospitality Opportunities for Workers) is ROC-United’s proprietary workforce development program. The goal of the program is to help workers gain skills that will enable them to find quality employment in the restaurant industry. All classes include hard skills, labor rights education, and sections on skills for finding employment. Through this approach, our members enter the industry with the skills needed to find a job, sufficient knowledge on how to go about finding the job, and the necessary information to defend their rights if they are ever challenged down the road.

All CHOW offerings are available in English and Spanish.

The most recent graduates of the Culinary Arts track of CHOW New York, February 2024.

Food Handlers

The NYC Food Handlers course provides necessary instruction to pass the exam for an NYC Qualifying Certificate in Food Protection, which opens up a number of opportunities for individuals to pursue work in the food service industry. The program is 18 hours over two weeks, including 15 hours of instruction in safe food handling practices. More than 95% of those who complete the course pass the exam.

Culinary Arts

The Culinary Arts program is designed to give students skills to gain entry level kitchen positions. The program is 60 hours in total over six weeks, including 48 hours with hands-on experience in a restaurant kitchen instructed by ta chef with more than 30 years of experience. Coursework includes the basics of maintaining an organized station; education about knife skills; and basic equipment training.


The Bartending / Front-of-House program is designed to help graduates gain entry-level front-of-house positions such as barback and busser. The program is 60 hours in total over six weeks, including 48 hours of hands-on experience in a restaurant’s bar instructed by the head bartender with more than 15 years of experience. Coursework includes basic liquor education; how to stir and shake cocktails; how to tap a keg; and customer service skills.


All CHOW classes also include Know Your Rights courses, in which students receive education on common workplace issues such as immigration status, sexual harassment, and wage theft. Our curriculum encompasses the history of labor in the United States and rights of workers in both the United States at large and specifically in New York.

We educate our participants on minimum wage for both tipped and non-tipped employees; overtime; child labor laws; paid and unpaid work breaks; employer responsibilities regarding food and uniforms; work scheduling and pay schedules; paid leave; interviews; and the right to organize in the workplace. In addition, we provide information on actions to take should their rights be violated, including how to file complaints with the New York Department of Labor and connecting to appropriate resources. 

By disseminating knowledge about labor laws, wage regulations, and legal avenues for redress, we empower immigrant workers with the tools they need to secure fair compensation and safe working conditions.