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History

Founded in 1997, Community Culinary School of Charlotte began its mission in a single-room of an unfinished warehouse with just two students. CCSC’s dedication to serving the Charlotte community has grown into a legacy that spans over 25 years. Since our founding, that single office space has expanded into six offices, a conference room, and a fully-equipped kitchen to serve our classes of 20+ students offered three times a year. We continue to provide workforce development training and job placement assistance in the food service industry for adults who face barriers to long-term successful employment.

Our Staff

CHEF RON

Ron Ahlert
Executive Director

Chef Ron began his career in the food industry at the age of sixteen as an apprentice in a country club. He went on to receive formal training at The New York Restaurant School. Chef Ron honed his skills in the kitchen of some of New York City and Paris’ finest restaurants. After years as an Executive Chef for a large food corporation in North Carolina, he began looking for a new challenge and found it at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte. Chef Ron spent six years as the teaching chef before being named the Executive Director in 2006.

Alvin Howard
Culinary Instructor

Chef Alvin came to the School in 2012 as a volunteer and in 2015, joined our staff as a Chef Instructor. Chef Alvin has always enjoyed helping youth, whether at CCSC or at the Central Church of God, where he preps meals. He started his culinary training at Central Piedmont Community College. He applied his training at restaurants such as Morais and Rustique, cooking classical French cuisine. Prior to joining CCSC, Alvin launched his own catering business - Grassroots Catering, and was part owner of Southern Comfort Barbeque and Soul. He currently serves as a member of the Piedmont Culinary Guild as well. As a Chef Instructor, Alvin is fulfilled when he sees “the light come on for students” as they progress through their training and get excited knowing they can do it!

anthony watkins
chef instructor / alumna

Anthony was a graduate of Class 5, and spent 15 years working at the Capital Grille, starting as a prep cook and working his way up to executive chef. He is passionate about teaching and passing along his knowledge, and that’s why he came back to CCSC. He is excited to share the joy he gets from the science and education of food with the students that pass through our doors. A fun fact about Anthony is that the loves of his life are his 3 children and 3 grandchildren!

Sharon Watkins
BAKERY INSTRUCTOR / alumna

Sharon was born and raised in Charlotte. She has a banking background, but baking has always been her dream. When COVID happened, and she was laid off from banking, she was determined to go back to baking and make it work. With over 20 years of baking experience, it’s where her heart is. Sharon graduated from Class 66 in November 2020 and has been working with CCSC ever since. She became a Culinary Instructor in training in 2022. She enjoys teaching the students and is always happy to talk about the School and share its mission to potential students.

Bonnie O'Rourke
Comptroller

Bonnie has been the Bookkeeper at CCSC since 2001, but she also assists with grant writing and development activities. Bonnie has a BA in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Originally from New Jersey, she has lived in Charlotte since 1997 and is proud to be a part of CCSC, helping folks change their lives and live their dream. Outside of the School, Bonnie is passionate about helping animals live better lives. As a volunteer dog trainer for the New Leash on Life Program, she coordinates temporary placement of rescue dogs with prisoners in Gaston County Jail, and coaches them through the training process to prepare the dogs for adoption. Bonnie also volunteers for Coalition to Unchain Dogs - building fences for dogs that live outside on chains and transporting dogs to and from their spay/neuter appointments. She currently volunteers with Humane Society delivering hay in the winter and tarps in the summer to dogs that live outside.

Pam Worley
Student Counselor
MBA, MS, LCAS, CADC, CSI

Pam is the Student Counselor at CCSC as well as a native of Charlotte. She is a certified and licensed clinician in the substance use disorder field and graduated from Gardner-Webb University with both a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and a Master of Business Administration; she completed her Master of Science in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. She is passionate about helping individuals who experience life challenges and believes people can and do improve when presented with a supportive environment to talk, learn and grow. Pam is grateful for her experiences and supervision from some of the most seasoned organizations in the community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading Patricia Cornwell novels and spending quality time with family and friends.

Karen Turk
Development Director

Karen is originally from Worcester, Massachusetts and has made her way down the east coast by way of NYC, Washington DC and Durham, NC before settling in Charlotte in 1990. She graduated from George Washington University with a BBA in Finance and from Duke University with a master’s in healthcare administration. She brings extensive experience in both for profit and nonprofit organizations. When not at work, Karen enjoys cooking, baking, needlepointing and playing mahjong and canasta.

peyton dayvault
marketing coordinator

Originally from South Carolina, Peyton has lived in North Carolina since her time at Appalachian State University. She graduated with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Non-Profit Organizations at the height of the pandemic in 2020, and moved to Charlotte shortly after. Her passion is working with non-profits and helping those that need it in the community. She is currently pursuing her master's degree at UNCC. When she's not working, you can find her reading or hanging out with her two pugs.

shannon martin
cafe extraordinaire / alumna

Shannon is originally from Rural Hall, NC, and has lived in Charlotte since 1997. She holds a BA in English from UNCG. She was the Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Directors at Junior Achievement of the Central Carolinas from 1998-2006, and stepped away from full-time employment when her son was born. Shannon dined at CCSC for a number of years and, after having her husband and son home during the pandemic, is a proud graduate of Class 67 in April 2021. She continues virtual work for Athena Consultants, Inc. in Charlotte.