Five Weird Facts About the COSAC Homeless Shelter Kitchen

Photo by Phil Sunkel

Hannah Winston is from the University of Florida. During her time at WWFF11 she chose to spend time with COSAC’s resident chef, Ken Grippo.

I’ve been in plenty of kitchens in my 20 years of life. I’ve seen my share from my Italian grandmother’s brick-lined kitchen to the hole-in-the wall restaurant kitchens to talk with cooks for stories. I’ve even been to two other homeless shelter kitchens, but none have been like COSAC Homeless Shelter’s kitchen.

Ken Grippo, the master chef, takes pride in his workplace. He will not let any food leave through the kitchen door without him tasting it first. He won’t cook anything he wouldn’t eat. It’s his kitchen and he makes it known.

When he took me around his kitchen, there were a few things I noticed both from the kind of food to the staff members working in there.

Top five weird facts about the COSAC Homeless Shelter kitchen:

1.)  A freezer full of hotdogs.

As much as the cook, Grippo, hates them, there is never a shortage in the shelter kitchen.

2.) Types of food

Food in the kitchen ranges from rolled up lunchmeat and cheese that’s baked to stuffed crab legs. Grippo said that it depends on what donations come in.

3.) The back-and-forth between Grippo and Glenn Greene, his assistant.

Grippo playfully calls him his padawan. Greene joked that when he masters cooking he gets a new knife that lights up—reminiscent of a lightsaber.

4.) A walk-in freezer with cakes galore.

Grippo said the shelter gets lots of dessert donations from Winn-Dixie and other groceries stores have dessert with lunch and dinner.

5.) The Italian chef

Grippo touts his family’s origins. From the family recipe for ziti to the insane amount of garlic in his dishes, even before he tells you his family is from the Mediterraneanpeninsula. Yes, he talks with his hands, but one of them is usually holding a cooking knife.


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