Culinary training program gives Tucson woman a 'fresh start'

GAP Ministries Culinary Training Program
Posted at 6:20 AM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 19:46:30-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — When you step into GAP Ministries' kitchen you'll find Marlene Guerro. Under her mask, she's all smiles.

"It's the ability to express your passion through food. How you want to give it to someone. How to fix it. How to taste it. How to present it." said Guerro.

Guerro's time in the kitchen is what she called a "fresh start."

"I began to dabble into drugs and alcohol at a very young age. From there my life had no direction," said Guerro.

At 57 years old, Guerro came to Tucson to take part in a recovery program. It eventually led her to GAP Ministries Culinary Training Program. They take in a group of people a few times each year. GAP teaches them cooking skills that lead to jobs and offer a new chance to succeed.

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"It is definitely a new start for them. We give not just culinary skills, but financial education and life skills to help them be leaders. It's a holistic approach to help change people," said GAP Ministries Culinary Training Program Executive Chef and Instructor, John Hohn.

After 10 weeks of training, Guerro graduated with a culinary certificate. Even more important to her, were the people that came to see her biggest accomplishment.

"I get to reunite with my family again. They traveled to just see me accomplish something. I was a broken person and then I made something of myself for a change," said Guerro.

Guerro said she will continue to make her family proud and explore new job opportunities.

"Whatever I have to offer, I'm going to give it to them," said Guerro.

Guerro hopes to work for the University of Arizona and cook delicious food for their athletic program.