Café Reconcile to Host Pay What You Can Day on GiveNOLA Day, Tuesday, May 4

Café Reconcile will host “Pay What You Can” Day in concert with GiveNOLA Day, Tuesday, May 4 from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. GiveNOLA Day is a community-wide event hosted by the Greater New Orleans Foundation that brings the community together to raise awareness and support for nonprofits like Café Reconcile.

“We are pleased to reintroduce Pay What You Can Day,” said Gerald Duhon, executive director. “It is our opportunity to take the initiative to fill a critical need — to feed and nurture the communities that surround and support our Interns as well as the Café Reconcile community. GiveNOLA Day is the perfect time to show Reconcile’s spirit of hospitality by giving back in a meaningful way,” he added.

On Pay What You Can Day/Give NOLA Day Reconcile Interns and Staff members will use their craft for good and demonstrate the true meaning of hospitality — offering their talents in gratitude and service of others.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to dine with dignity, to be treated with hospitality, and enjoy a meal. On this day, guests are invited to dine and pay whatever amount they are able for their first plate, whether it is $1 or $100,” said Duhon. Additional plates are $10/plate.

Pay What You Can Day/Give NOLA Day is also an opportunity for the community to see Café Reconcile’s mission in action and learn how a gift to Café Reconcile helps transform the lives of young adults by supporting their personal growth, providing workforce development and training, and equipping young people with the tools to achieve their potential.

A special, three-course lunch menu will be served on Tuesday, May 4. Guests can choose from:

Appetizer

  • Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
  • Mixed Green Salad: Strawberries, Goat Cheese, and Sunflower Seeds
  • Fried Green Tomatoes with Crawfish Sauce

Entree (with choice of a side)

  • Fried Catfish
  • Smothered Chicken
  • BBQ Country Style Ribs
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Stuffed Bell Pepper

Dessert

  • Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
  • Berry Cobbler

Café Reconcile is open for lunch Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  For additional information about Café Reconcile, GiveNOLA Day and Pay What You Can Day, visit www.cafereconcile.org.

About Café Reconcile

Café Reconcile has transformed the lives of more than 2,000 young people since opening in 2000. The program works with 90 new young adults each year and over 250 alumni – young people ages 16-24 who seek employment and educational opportunities or both. Café Reconcile’s four-part, tiered Life Skills and Workforce Development Program focuses on addressing barriers to success, such as homelessness and untreated trauma, while teaching culinary and professional skills necessary to gain and sustain employment.  To learn more, visit www.cafereconcile.org.

Beer Menu 2021

Meet Mynique: Alumni to Employee

“I wouldn’t trade my job for anything, and I know for a fact I want to go to college next year.”

Hi, my name is Mynique Williams. I’m a 2019 Alumna, and I’m now an employee. I work here as a cashier. I came here in 2019, a regular girl who just needed a little help. I wanted a better look at the culinary and hospitality industry. I graduated and then got a great job, a higher paying job, saved up some money, and got my own apartment. Now working here as an employee, I love it. I wouldn’t trade my job for anything. I love working at Café Reconcile. It’s just like a family here.

Mynique started learning new ways to cope with the pandemic. She reads, she paints, and she finds new ways to overcome “that everyday pressure, that everyday stress,” as she puts it. Like her fellow Alumni, Mynique turns to Reconcile for career advice.

Your support makes these conversations possible. You help our program team provide social services and even Mental Wellness sessions like art/music therapy for Alumni to ease their mind. You create opportunities for Reconcile young people to overcome that everyday pressure and focus forward.

You’ll probably see Mynique when you first walk in the door, at the cashier station. Her warm presence is felt by everyone who comes through the building, even when you can’t see her ear-to-ear smile behind her Reconcile mask.

Mynique also has a keen eye for generosity; she appreciates the humble donors and diners who impact today’s Interns and Young Alumni. “We’re always grateful for the donations. When you come to Reconcile, you look around and see the pictures and the students. It gives you more of a feel of what goes on here. It makes you want to give back and be a part of Reconcile. Just a small donation helps us…every day,” she added.

Your donations create field experiences and site visits to inspire young people on their journey. From these experiences, Mynique is now working two jobs, pursuing college, and chasing her dream — a career in healthcare.

We need to make sure Alumni who still find themselves unemployed due to the pandemic, turning to Reconcile for help, have the same opportunities. Will you make a difference for young people like Mynique?

Chef Martha Wiggins – Biography

Martha Wiggins brings a passion for the culinary craft to all her dishes. Growing up in Washington, D.C., Wiggins started in the industry at local deli Pumpernickels at 15 years old. Here she found her passion for professional cooking. At age 20, she moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts and attended a culinary arts program while also advancing her culinary experience in several fine-dining establishments.

In 2010, Wiggins came to New Orleans and joined the staff of Sylvain as the sous chef to executive chef Alex Harrell. In October 2014, Wiggins took over as executive chef at Sylvain. As executive chef at Sylvain, her modern gastropub fare landed her on The Times-Picayune’s list of Chefs to Watch 2015, Gambit’s 2015 Emerging Chefs list, and her holiday cocktail snacks were featured on the cover of Food & Wine’s December 2015 issue. Her work at Sylvain garnered attention from the James Beard Foundation. In 2017, Wiggins was a semifinalist for the Rising Star Award; in 2018, she was among the semifinalists for Best Chef South.

In early 2018, Wiggins left Sylvain and joined the opening team at The Elysian Bar at the new Hotel Peter & Paul, ranked number five among Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants in 2019.

Today, Wiggins joins Café Reconcile as Executive Chef to pursue not only her culinary passion but desire to mentor and train young people and prepare them for the rigor of a competitive hospitality industry.

As Executive Chef, Wiggins will lead the transformation of the Reconcile kitchen, creating the best possible environment for teaching, learning, and personal growth for Reconcile Interns and Alumni. Moreover, she will transform the Café Reconcile culinary experience, reimagine the philosophy behind the café menu and dining experience while preserving its traditional New Orleans fare, and establish Café Reconcile as one of New Orleans’ most recognized eateries.

In concert with Café Reconcile’s commitment to equity and inclusion, Wiggins is dedicated to initiatives that bring attention to and eliminate inequities in the restaurant industry. She aims to affect change and create more equitable work environments that respect and reward the talents and contributions of all workers within a creative, diverse, and dynamic industry.

“At Café Reconcile, we are not only creating a meal and memorable dining experience. We have the ability to change lives by supporting young people who are chasing their dreams,” said Wiggins. “I’m inspired to craft a culture that empowers Interns and Alumni to acquire the skills that will set them on the path to a career. But equally important is the opportunity for Reconcile to set the example, standard, and expectation for a hospitality industry culture for our Interns and Alumni that values and respects all, no matter the position someone holds.”

Meet Martha Wiggins, Reconcile Exec. Chef (Photos)

On Saturday, Feb. 27, Reconcile New Orleans officially celebrated its new Executive Chef, Chef Martha Wiggins. Of course, the roll-out event was held with limited capacity in order to follow city guidelines. A select group of past and present board members and supporters, a small group of media affiliates, and limited staff were invited to meet Chef Martha, hear her vision, and see her talents all while tasting some of her delicious dishes. Read Full Bio on Chef Wiggins!

Equity in the Hospitality Industry – Response

Reconcile has been in contact with James and Yasmin Washington and are working with them to be agents of change. As a workforce training non-profit that connects predominantly young Black people to employment in hospitality, Reconcile knows that negative business practices, stereotyping people of color — both as guests and employees — are deeply embedded within the industry.

For the past several months, Reconcile has worked with Desi Vega, receiving donations of food product to support our operation. Desi Vega is not one of our Employment Partners, however, we are pleased that they have said they are turning this experience into actions of change for both their guests and employees, and hope that it inspires other establishments to do the same.

A big part of Reconcile’s mission is ensuring equitable environments – both by modeling it in our own practices and by being selective in who we choose as employment partners for our young people. We use the values of empathy, respect, compassion, and support as our guiding principles. We will continue to work towards creating more equitable environments for all our stakeholders, be those guests, program participants, or staff. Our gratitude goes out to the Washingtons for their expression of support.

Meet Deja’Nae

You Give Hope to Alumni Like Deja’Nae.

Reconcile Alumni continue to chase their dreams in 2021, and it takes their courage and your support to share their stories.

Your donation improves the work of our Employment Partnerships team, creating opportunities that help Deja’Nae and other Alumni connect to work.

Reconcile’s newest employment partner is The Store Poboys on Vets, who hired Deja’Nae as their full-time cashier. She is not only the first person seen by a customer, but she also manages phone calls, the point-of-sale system, UberEATS, DoorDash, and other computer-skilled tasks that require attention to detail.

“Deja has been a wonderful addition to our team,” Chef Reuben Laws, The Store owner, said. “Her singing and dancing in the kitchen creates smiles to go along with her superb restaurant skills.”

then and now…

Our doors are open as we continue to connect young people to internships and jobs in this time of immense need.

Once Reconcile Interns are matched with internships/employment, they and their employers work with Reconcile’s Education and Employment Manager who provides 12 months of follow-up support to help Interns and employment partners successfully manage the transition.

Your generosity provides training and support for individuals to get a job that can lead to a long-term career. Job stability can be transformative for young people and their families — together, we can strengthen New Orleans families and our community.

Your donations create field experiences and site visits to inspire young people on their journey. Deja’Nae had these experiences; and we need to make sure Alumni who find themselves unemployed due to the pandemic, turning to Reconcile for help, have the same opportunities.

Thanks to you, we are fulfilling the most important purpose of Reconcile. That’s not only ensuring our young people are employable but, more importantly, ensuring the employers are giving our Interns the best chance to succeed and grow.

Will you create a new opportunity today?

2021 Mardi Gras Catering Menu

Café Reconcile Open House on Monday, Jan. 25

Eight Reconcilers Honored at 2020 Graduation

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Reconcile New Orleans honored eight young people at its 2020 Graduation Ceremony.

Congratulations to the following graduates:

Deon – Class 4, 2019
Ty’kia – Class 4, 2019
Dorian – Class 5, 2019
Caleb – Class 6, 2019
Clarence – Class 6, 2019
Jesus – Class 6, 2019
Johnell – Class 6, 2019
Ariane – Class 1, 2020