From Silver Fork to the Great American Baking Show

Destané Harris tells her story on connection, profession and passion.


We want to take time these last few days of the year to outline some of the programs that are made possible from monetary donations of our community. A beautiful example is the Silver Fork program. Silver Fork is a 9-week culinary arts and job readiness program hosted by Center on Halsted. Students experience intensive culinary training coupled with Front of the House training, personal and professional development, job readiness and career counseling.

Below is a story from a Silver Fork graduate, Destané Harris, who has excelled beyond measure in her culinary career. We are grateful to Destané for sharing her story, and grateful to you for making it possible.

About 6 years ago, I came to Center on Halsted for a space to go where I felt welcome as part of Chicago’s LGBTQ community. One day, I randomly ran across a Silver Fork flyer and inquired for more information. At this point, I’d already started culinary school, but it became too expensive and a program like Silver Fork was right up my alley. It was perfect timing for me to stumble across the flyer at this time. I became part of Cohort 6 of the Silver Fork program at Center on Halsted and through this, I got acquainted with many of Center on Halsted employees as well as my fellow students and started building a great network.

Not only is Silver Fork a free program, students receive a $200 stipend upon completion of the first 30 days of eligible work. Center on Halsted is only able to make programs such as Silver Fork available with the monetary support of our community members like you.

As we close out the year, we look back on all we have achieved with the love, dedication and commitment of our community members like you. We are excited for the future of Silver Fork and its graduates such as Destané, and we hope to continue supporting them for years to come. By contributing financially to Center on Halsted, you are becoming a part of someone else’s story. Please continue to support Center on Halsted to make programs like Silver Fork possible. We are beyond grateful for all that you do!

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Movement.

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