wichcraft stores have strong ties to the neighborhoods in which they’re located. Whether it’s guiding local high school interns through a summer program, sponsoring hunger relief fundraisers, or supporting local farmers and artisanal food producers by showcasing their ingredients on our menu, we take pride in our community involvement.
The wichcraft/Fresh Air Fund internship program, founded in 2006, is rooted in partners Tom Colicchio, Sisha Ortuzar, and Jeffrey Zurofsky and their mutual interest in mentoring children. Together they set a goal of teaming up with a local nonprofit to create an experience that would enrich the lives of both local youngsters and the wichcraft staff. They soon found a match in The Fresh Air Fund (FAF), a not-for-profit agency that provides job training and free summer vacations to kids from New York City who would not otherwise have these opportunities. When they reached out to the FAF’s Career Awareness team to propose a new internship program, an eight-week curriculum unlike any other in the organization’s history was born.
wichcraft’s program offers a hands-on, practical approach to exposing teens to new career avenues while instilling responsibility and a sense of ownership. Over the course of a summer, the interns work hard, using their newly acquired skills, extensive research, and trial and error to create a new sandwich; the thrill of seeing their ideas come to fruition on the wichcraft menu is powerful payback.
The intern selection process begins in the winter with several Saturday workshops held at wichcraft headquarters. By the spring, wichcraft management has selected a handful of the applicants – those who have exhibited the high levels of enthusiasm and dedication sought in each potential employee – to join the summer program.
Things kick off in July as the students join executive chef Sisha Ortuzar in the kitchen to explore the range of high-quality ingredients found on the wichcraft menu by preparing sandwiches and testing new recipes. From there they move on to the stores, where they work behind the counter, pressing sandwiches and interacting with guests. Finally, the interns spend time with the operations and management teams, learning the ins and outs of running a business.
The inaugural FAF ‘Fresh Airwich,‘ barbecued flank steak, was added to wichcraft’s menu in December 2006. It quickly became a best-seller, with 10% of proceeds from its sales directly benefiting the FAF. In addition to this, all three interns became permanent wichcraft employees. The FAF internship program completed its second cycle in 2007 and a vegetarian grilled eggplant sandwich became new Fresh Airwich.
The pride the interns take in being able to give back to an organization that has provided them with so much as well as the public’s enthusiasm for the Fresh Airwiches have helped the wichcraft/FAF internship program become a permanent part of the curriculum of both organizations.
Thank you for thinking of ‘wichcraft as a charitable resource for your event. While we consider each request we receive, due to the high volume of inquiries, we are limited in the number of causes that we can participate in or contribute to.
Please complete our donation request form and return it within eight weeks prior to the event to email@example.com. We will follow up with you within two weeks.
Tools of the Craft is a series of oil paintings by New York based artist Steve Ellis commissioned by wichcraft for our guests to enjoy in our stores. The wichcraft/Ellis partnership began in 2006 when the artist was asked to create an original painting for the 8th Street store. The goal was to tie a typical tool used in the craft of cooking into an architectural element of the restaurant’s neighborhood. The first painting was a percolator with a reflection of the nearby Astor Place Cube. It was eventually followed by six additional original paintings featuring kitchen tools such as pastry tips, a meat slicer, chef’s knife, and others. Each item continues to include a reflection of the store’s neighborhood, from the Flatiron Building in New York to the San Francisco MoMA. Look for new works in the Tools of the Craft series as wichcraft grows!