Chef-In-Training Success Story: Adrian Aguilar

Adrian Aguilar first started as a CIT Intern back in the summer of 2013. He had been involved in gangs, drugs, organized crime, and armed robbery. Risk and violence was a part of his everyday life but, in June of 2013, it reached a breaking point. He was chased down and hit by a car, driven by two opposing gang members. That evening in the hospital, he promised himself to get out and start a new life for himself.  

He came to Sprouts with little restaurant experience but after 4 weeks of training at The Boot and Shoe restaurant in Oakland, he was already turning heads. Impressed by his desire to learn, we reached out to the community to raise funds for him to train for two weeks in Girona, Spain alongside a Sprouts partner chef.

The day of his flight, Adrian had a panic attack and called in to cancel the trip. Already at the airport, Sprouts director pleaded with the airline manager to keep the gate open 15 more minutes. Adrian arrived at check-in at minute 14.

Today, Adrian refers to his trip to Spain as one of the most influential experiences of his life. He couldn’t be more grateful for the community’s donations to make his trip possible. He lives in the Bay Area, working as a chef at a local catering company and happily married with two children.

Sprouts Chef-In-Training Program trains young adults that haven’t had it easy, to become chefs. They train 16 hours per week right alongside a local chef, learning everything the need to know to land a sustainable, honest job in the restaurant industry.
Since 2012, we’ve been working hard to give job opportunity to young adults that have faced significant setbacks, but are hungry to make a new start for themselves. Read more about the demographic of youth served and our impact, in numbers.

Job Security

% of interns with jobs in the restaurant industry post-internship 1 year after: 83%

% of interns with jobs in the restaurant industry post-internship 2 years after: 77

% of interns with jobs in the restaurant industry post-internship 3-5 years after: 73%

% graduated interns were offered a full or part-time position by their mentor restaurant: 65%


Black or African American: 62%

Hispanic or Latino: 23%

Asian/Pacific Islander: 7%

Middle Eastern: 4%

White or Caucasian: 4%


Male: 60%

Female: 40%

Average Age:

17 years old


Verified low-income: 100%

Violence and Crime:

% of interns having had experienced domestic violence pre-internship: 30%

% of interns living in single-parent household: 53%

% of interns living in low-income household: 100%

% of interns involved in drugs pre-internship: 71%

% of interns involved in gang-activity pre-internship: 57%

% of interns involved criminal behavior pre-internship: 55%

% of interns in juvenile detention or prison prior to internship: 30%