Mike Curtin is the CEO of DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen,” where food donated by hospitality businesses and farms is used to fuel a nationally recognized culinary arts job training program. Since opening in 1989, the Kitchen has produced over 23 million meals and helped 800 men and women gain full-time employment. The Kitchen operates its own revenue generating business, Fresh Start Catering, as well as the Campus Kitchens Project, which coordinates similar recycling/meal programs in 30 colleges or high school based kitchens.
A graduate of Williams College, Mike spent more than 20 years in the hospitality business, including opening and operating his own restaurant, the Broad Street Grill in Falls Church, Virginia before joining the Kitchen in 2004.
Drawing on his experiences as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business, Mike has spent significant time expanding the Kitchen’s revenue generating social enterprise initiatives. Under his leadership, D.C. Central Kitchen’s Fresh Start Catering has expanded from traditional catering opportunities to include contracts to provide locally-sourced, scratched-cooked meals to schools in D.C. Over the last five years, D.C. Central Kitchen has generated over $17 million dollars (nearly half of what it costs to run all of the Kitchen’s programs) through fee-for-service contracts, catering, and other social enterprise ventures, which allows the Kitchen to employ 130 people, more than half of whom are graduates of the Kitchen’s nationally recognized Culinary Job Training Program.
These programs, as well as many others, will continue to grow as a result of D.C. Central Kitchen’s Nutrition Lab facility, which was funded and opened under Mike’s leadership. The new space will allow DCCK to double the amount of food it gleans from area farms, the number of meals it serves, and the revenue of its social enterprises.
A true leader in the community, Mike has been honored as Gael of the Year in D.C. 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade and received the Pedro Arrupe Award and the St. Aloysius Medal by his alma mater, Gonzaga College High School. He is also the recipient of the 2010 Gelman, Rosenberg and Freedman EXCEL Award for excellence in chief executive leadership.
Mike lives with his wife Maureen and their three children, Maeve, Michael III, and Ciara, in Falls Church, VA. Follow him on Twitter: @mikecurtindcck