Alumni Stories

Jon Woodgate

Culinary Arts

Director of Food Service Training, UMOM New Day Centers
The Art Institute of Phoenix

aiphoenix alumni jon woodgate

[My education] taught me the core skills I needed to excel in a craft that I love. Jon Woodgate , Director of Food Service Training, UMOM New Day Centers Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts, 2005 , The Art Institute of Phoenix

Teaches Training Programs to Teens, Helps Them to Transition Out of Shelter 

Jon Woodgate is the director of food service training for UMOM Food Service Training. UMOM works to prevent and end homelessness with innovative strategies and housing solutions. In the training program, Jon works with high school students to teach them culinary and barista skills. These real-world skills enable the students and their families to transition out of a shelter and into stable housing. Prior to his current position, John worked at St. Mary’s Food Bank and Community Kitchen as a chef instructor.

He says that a typical morning involves working with culinary students and teaching core food classes and techniques. In the afternoon, he works with barista students, helping them learn to make espresso. “I love working with my students all day long,” he says. “Showing [them] and others the passion I have for food helps to cultivate the desire to be creative. I get excited when I talk about different foods or dishes that they may not have had before.”

Jon began his career in food services later in life, and admits that it was difficult to start anew. “It taught me to believe in myself and not listen to what others said. I pushed myself to excel and prove that I made the right choice in my life.” In addition to his culinary experience, he served in the United States Air Force for five years.

Jon asserts that current students need to stay focused and responsible. “I can count the times I've been late in my culinary career on one hand. My employer knows without a doubt that he can depend on me, no matter what.”

Jon, who in 2005 earned an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Phoenix, says that his education taught him the core skills he needed to excel in culinary arts. Today, he is thankful when one of his program graduates reports back with a success story. “Having a graduate from our program tell me how much their life has changed and gotten better is why I do what I do.”