Food with a side of HOPE!

Fresh, Vibrant, and Simply Unique: that’s Inside the Box Café & Catering. Lively, friendly service with a clean and bright atmosphere, a fabulous menu, and an inspirational story—it’s where comfort, flavor, and culture mingle with an opportunity to make a difference in the community. All proceeds from the meal you purchase go directly back to feeding a hungry and hurting Tampa Bay neighbor.


Culinary Arts Program

In addition to serving contemporary Americana and inventive original dishes, we also serve a much higher calling by providing vocational training opportunities for men and women transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. The Culinary Arts Program (CAP) produces qualified employees who are prepared for work in the hospitality industry. Upon graduation, each trainee has gained the ability necessary not only to find a job, but to keep it! In the process, the students gain skills and work ethics that encourage them to lead a life of self-sufficiency.

The Inside the Box Culinary Arts Program is funded by JPMorgan Chase; each student accepted into the program receives a full scholarship. Classes are small, 8-10 students, for a more personalized learning experience. The Culinary Arts program is offered each quarter of the year. The class consists of students from three segments: aged out foster youths, clients of Metropolitan Ministries, and residential clients of Metropolitan Ministries. The culinary arts students move quickly through the 16 week course from basic skills to more advanced techniques that are the basis for creating any style of cuisine.

This allows time for 150 hours of culinary classes, 20 hours for a Food Handling Certification Course, 100 hours of High Volume Production experience, 100 hours of Cafeteria experience, 100 hours of Restaurant experience, and 40 hours for a Life and Employment Skills Course. Training in restaurant, institutional, and cafeteria cooking will prepare students for diverse job opportunities.

Our students come through a partnership with the Eckerd Family Foundation, Joshua House, the Triad Foundation, Starting Right Now, Connected by 25 and the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County to identify aged out foster youths who would be interested in receiving culinary training and working in the field. Clients of Metropolitan Ministries, and residential clients of Metropolitan Ministries are also considered for application based on their interest in the field, as well as their level of commitment to completing the program.

Inside the Box is a Social Enterprise of Metropolitan Ministries