Meet the Kitchen Team

Keith Batts, Executive Chef

Chef Batts, a Nashville native, dreamed of becoming a chef even after he graduated from Tennessee State University with a bachelor's degree in Business Management. He decided to pursue his dream and received his culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, N.C., where he graduated magna cum laude.

Melissa Shepherd, Trainee

Melissa enjoys creating new ways to cook food, and has fun making meals with her kids. She heard about the program from Cherica Horton, a Second Rise Kitchen alumni and was intrigued. "It relaxes me when I cook," Melissa said. "So, I enrolled and was selected and I’m excited about it!"

Cassilina Williams, Trainee

Cassilina likes cooking healthy foods. "So, I am here to become a better and healthier cook," she said. She enrolled after learning about Second Rise Kitchen from another parent Early Learning Center at Martha O’Bryan Center.

William Brown, Trainee

"The thing I like most about cooking is how great cooking brings joy to people," William said. "I also enjoy being part of a team in the kitchen and learning new culinary skills." He learned about Second Rise Kitchen from Paxton Montgomery from the New Life Program, the Metro Health Department fatherhood initiative.

George Lane, Trainee

George loves putting different food combinations together. "I enjoy creating ways of making food look presentable and having good flavor so others will enjoy it," he said. A relative referred him to Second Rise Kitchen, and he is proud to be selected as a trainee.

Cherica Horton, Alumni

Cherica is a mother of 4 children and learned about Second Rise Kitchen by participating in various Martha O'Bryan Center programs, including Tied Together, the Early Learning Center and East End Prep. She completed her 300 hours, earned her ServSafe certification and is currently looking for a job in the culinary field.

Calvin Johnson, Alumni





Tonya Kimble, Alumni

Tonya Kimble came to the Martha O'Bryan Center through the GED program and is enjoying learning new culinary techniques at Second Rise Kitchen. "I already knew how to cook and all that, but they just taught me how to prepare bigger meals, better meals, new recipes" she said.

Milton Thomas, Alumni

Milton Thomas is a familiar face at the Martha O'Bryan Center. His children have attended the Early Learning Center for three years and he sits on the Board of Directors. Now he works in the kitchen at Martha O'Bryan. "I've always considered myself King Chef or King Cook," Thomas said.

Mesean Witcher, Alumni

Mesean Witcher came to Second Rise Kitchen to become a chef. He now works in the kitchen at Demos' Restaurant in downtown Nashville. He wants to be a positive influence in the community and show that determination can lead to success.