Project Host culinary school graduate to cook for upcoming fundraiser

The annual Campfire Social held at Greenbrier Farms also benefits Project Host. Photo by Will Crooks / Greenville Journal

The upcoming Project Host fundraiser hosted by Leadership Greenville Class 45 will have special significance for one of the participants.

Gregorio “V” Caraballo, a graduate of Project Host’s CC Pearce Community Culinary School, will not only be in attendance but will be cooking the dishes restaurant Golden Brown & Delicious (GB&D) serves to guests during the reception.

The Leadership Greenville Class 45 Sponsor Reception will be held at Project Host, 525 S. Academy St., from 6-9 p.m. Jan. 17 to benefit the work that the Greenville Chamber’s Leadership Greenville (LG 45) is doing on behalf of Project Host, including a mural, new signage, bike racks, and landscaping.

The reception will feature small plates from restaurant sponsors The Anchorage, The Cliffs, GB&D, and Project Host, and beer and wine will be provided by Greenco.

Project Host seeks to alleviate food insecurity for all ages through a soup kitchen, culinary school, gardening program, and bakery, and works with its students to place them in jobs where they’d be a good fit.

This LG 45 project will help create a welcoming atmosphere for those seeking and receiving services from Project Host and foster community awareness of the nonprofit’s mission to nourish the hungry and train the unemployed.

“As is the process for LG project selection, we reviewed several project proposals and then chose a few to present in person – frankly, after Project Host’s presentation, it was almost immediately our top choice,” says Josh Tew, a member of LG 45. “They are doing incredible work in the community both on an immediate (soup kitchen) and strategic (career training) level. They have a prominent facility on Academy, but our group was generally not aware that Project Host was more than a soup kitchen. The objective of our project is to assist Project Host in upgrading their branding in the community to match the services they offer.”

Caraballo’s involvement in the fundraiser brings Project Host’s mission full circle, showing, rather than simply telling, the benefits of the teaching arm since its founding in 2003.

“Project Host helped me become all I can be – knowing how the food-service industry works, knowing all the tools to succeed and gain a lot of experience, to mold me into a better chef,” Caraballo says.

Caraballo graduated from Project Host’s culinary program in September 2016 and soon after joined the kitchen of GB&D, the popular Village of West Greenville lunch and dinner spot run by chef Alex George.

George was already a Project Host supporter and says he even considered attending the culinary school at one time before his stint at Stella’s Southern Bistro in Simpsonville where he trained under chef Jason Scholz.

George says when he asked Tobin Simpson, the teaching chef at the culinary school, to send him some possible candidates for an open kitchen position, Caraballo stood out. For two years now, Caraballo has walked almost an hour each way, three days a week to work at GB&D and one day at the soup kitchen, always willing to tackle whatever project he’s given.

“He works crazy hard,” George says. “And he’s really into food.”

And that’s why Simpson recommended him for the job.

“V was a very quiet and attentive student that was very concerned with all of the intricacies and details of a process,” Simpson says. “Once I had explained something to V’s satisfaction and he grasped the concept, I could count on that task being completed exactly the way it was taught. V also has a great work ethic and is constantly trying to figure out how he can best help the team.”

If you go

What: Leadership Greenville Class 45 Sponsor Reception benefiting Project Host
When: 6-9 p.m. Jan. 17
Where: Project Host, 525 S. Academy St.
Tickets: Available here


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