Dot-based Snapchef helps train workers for kitchens

Snapchef, a company that trains people for kitchen jobs ranging from dishwashers to sous chefs from its headquarters in Dorchester’s Four Corners, is helping to fill sorely needed positions in the state’s restaurant and hospitality sectors.

The “life skills and knife skills” program is currently training about 100 men and women from Dorchester, with over a third of all current employees also from the neighborhood, according to co-founders Todd and Daniela Snopkowski.

The couple founded the company in central Massachusetts back in 2002 before relocating to Jamaica Plain and then moving into a building on Washington Street in Dorchester in 2015. They have since opened kitchens in Worcester, Springfield, and Providence.

The Snopkowskis previously worked at Aramark, Todd as an executive chef and Daniela as catering supervisor. With nine years working as a sous chef, Todd saw a “void for trained staff” that made finding employees in the industry difficult.

“I thought of this model where if you train people to understand their skill sets before you put them out, you’ll avoid that problem,” he said. “If they don’t have the skills, you don’t put them in a real quick position; It’s just setting them up to fail.”

Teams at Snapchef locations train workers for different level jobs and after recruits complete the free, four-day training program and take a final exam, they are ready to sign up for jobs in stadiums, corporate cafeterias, hotels, hospitals and other sites.

Dorchester resident Roe Stafford, 60, an advanced skill worker who has worked with Snapchef for more than ten years, was initially scared to join a “temp agency” after the homeless shelter she worked at closed, leaving her at risk of homelessness.

“I went in and talked to the owner for a long time and he put me on an assignment and it just so happened to be the Hyatt Regency Hotel,” she said. “And I did so well that they hired me.”

After seven years at the Hyatt, Stafford returned to Snapchef. “I like the part about temping because if I don’t like it, I don’t have to stay there,” she said.

“We open our doors to help you grow,” said Daniela, who created Snapware, the company’s client and employee communication platform for its commercial kitchens.

“Before, we had to call every employee to schedule them,” she said. “With the creation of our system, employees can see their shifts in the app, choose shifts they want to work, request time off, and more. It fits both operations and back of the house simultaneously.”

Snapchef recently started offering transport to job using rideshare and company vans after learning that many workers had transportation issues.

“We are working with a community that needs help and we are here to provide not only jobs but also fill in the gaps where other employers have not,” Daniela said.

According to information posted on its website, the Snapchef Foundation, which was established in 2015, also partners with a number of groups to raise scholarship money for student education, provide internships, and hire students.

The couple explained how Snapchef is different from other “gig platforms” that use contracted workers: “We want to make sure that they’re being heard, and we’re giving them the tools they need to be successful,” Todd said. “It’s a major differentiator, at least for me and our clients.”

Added Daniela: “We have employees that started as dishwashers, became chefs, and today they run kitchens that we staff. We have hourly employees that become our managers, people that could not support their families being able to do so. This is the best part of all.”

For Stafford, Snapchef enabled her to work consistently towards her goal of retirement. “I’ve been in my apartment now for 14 years and it’s all due to Snapchef.”

Snapchef is located in Four Corners at 420 Washington St. and is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit

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