Metro Ministries culinary jobs program partners with TIA

- Consider it a classroom where the curriculum includes slicing, storing, and shuttling food in a hurry.

The tempo is the same, but there's something that sets "Inside the Box" apart from other Bay Area eateries. It's a headquarters for hope. Most of it's employees are reliant on the services of Metropolitan Ministries.

Cooks in the program are part of a free, four-month culinary program offered by the non-profit, to sharpen their skills.

"We have cooks and students that have graduated and have gone on to work at restaurants like Bizou in downtown, Mise en Place, Edison, Boca. Some of these top restaurants," Inside the Box's Cliff Barsi said Wednesday.

Most of its business, 70-percent, is catering. Inside the Box also has a storefront in downtown Tampa, and another in the Westshore business district.

Now, they're preparing to serve to a more global crowd. Metro Ministries' Inside the Box just signed a deal to supply grab-and-go options at news stands throughout Tampa International Airport.

The menu will offer healthy, simple wrap and sandwiches, snacks, and kid-friendly fare.

"It's good quality food. We roast all our meats here, we make all our own sauces and dressings," Barsi said.

Barsi said customers will feel good eating it: all proceeds from sales go back to Metropolitan Ministries mission to help the homeless.

Inside the Box is now available in Airside C at TIA. Two additional locations inside the airport are in the process of being constructed.

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