Norfolk restaurant now home to new student-led food experience

Posted at 12:22 PM, Aug 19, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Commune Norfolk isn't just a thriving farm-to-table restaurant - it's now home to a student-led food experience.

"We re going to take wonderful staff at Commune and let students come in and shadow them, so essentially, we are acting as mentors," said Chef Kip Poole with the CROP Foundation.

Commune Norfolk's kitchen in the Neon District is now home base for the CROP Foundation, led by Poole. He founded the organization in 2014 while working at a teacher in Philadelphia, helping students interested in the culinary field thrive.

"In a matter of two weeks we will roll out a four-season curriculum that will be based working here and shadowing, and even working on a farm in Pungo," Poole said.

Four students are currently enrolled in the new partnership. Service started this past week.

"We will do stellar local products," Poole said. "We are following the same concept as Commune, same food, just with education. I like to call it food with a purpose."

It's a place where passionate students can thrive, soaking in the front of the house, back of the house, hospitality, food prep and more.

"Students are chomping at the bit, parents have been calling, staff members at schools have been emailing me," Poole said. "I know that students have a lot of passion, and our idea is find the best in every one of them."

Poole also said the first year's profits from Commune Norfolk will go back to the CROP Foundation.

"We will be offering scholarships to students to culinary schools, hospitality schools, agriculture schools and more," Poole explained.

The CommuneXCrop partnership will also roll out virtual cooking classes, tutorials and more events soon.