It's been a long road to that end, but one that Mondaine, a self-described visionary, is proud of, embracing the bumps, twists and turns as points of pride. He sees it as all as part of the mission to bring spirit and service back to the neighborhood.
"It was always the dream to be able to train and produce people with culinary skills that would keep them living for the rest of their lives," Mondaine says. "Cause you know, people have to eat."

Teaching folks to fish - If there's one thing Mondaine isn't a particular fan of, it's the picture of modern education: the pressures youth face in pursuit of a four-year degree, often becoming entrenched in debt, with no guarantees.
Through his many ventures, which he says are less about business and more about heart, he hopes to alleviate pressures for those who just don't see that route as an option.
The culinary school will offer small classes of 12 to 15 students. He hopes to find donors so students can attend on scholarship.

This outlook is inspired, he says, from growing up on the south side of St. Louis, where he knew the names of the local butcher or the shoe repair man on the corner. If you broke a belt or purse strap, "you take it right down the street ... to the shoe shop — they'd take that sucker and put it right back together.

This is where his mantra — teaching people to fish — comes into play in his mission to bring services to the neighborhood. Teach Me To Fish is the name of his nonprofit program that will parent the new culinary school, and it's modeled after the old saying, "Give a man to fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
The program focuses not only on culinary job skills, but other life skills including confidence-building, discipline and emotion management.

Comfort is a constant through Mondaine's life, not only in the style of food, but a real feeling that he wants his students to feel in their life pursuits. "Show me where to go," he says. "I ain't got time for all your 'who shot johns' and who can stroke your ego."
He concedes that there's a time and place for structure, but first, "take care of my anxiety. Put my hands and feet at work and let me feel the vibrations of what I'm doing."

Expanding social mission
It all began in 1990, when a woman approached Mondaine after the first of two Sunday services at Celebration Tabernacle, the North Portland church he established only two years prior and where he still holds services. The church has services at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The woman wanted to establish a program for the community between those times for those who didn't wish to return home before the evening service.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JONATHAN HOUSE - Cook Aaron Anthony chops greens while executive chef James Bradley prepares chitlins at Po'Shines Cafe De La Soul. Anthony will attend Pastor Mondainé's new culinary school.
At first Mondaine was hesitant because he said people liked the separation between services, but he told her to come back with a plan. When she returned with an idea for a community program at the church, with food and activities for parents and their children, he was awestruck: "You need to be doing something with that," he told her.

From there, he was inspired to create opportunities for individuals in his congregation and in the community who were on welfare or underserved, but possessed talent.
Mondaine launched Girl & Guy Fridays, a mixed-bag secretarial business where one not only could buy a cup of espresso, but also have copies made. It eventually morphed into Fridays Espresso, selling coffee and antiques.

"We run this operation kind of like a church, rather than a business," he
says. "And when you do it that way, you're always giving more than you take in." Approaching 30 years later, Po'Shines Cafe De La Soul is providing similar opportunities.
Aaron Anthony, of Northeast Portland, has been a line cook at the cafe for a year and a half. He lost his job working concessions at the Moda Center during the 2014-15 season when Po'Shines' Chef James Bradley recruited him. He didn't have any particular prospects in the food industry, he says. He was working for his brother to prepare a prerelease for a record label.

The work at Po'Shines however, is helping him be consistent "to get my mind right."
He particularly loves that Po'Shines staff is more understanding than other places of work.
Earlier that day, his car ran out of gas, causing him to be a bit late to his shift.
"I had the longest day of the world ... there's a lot of understanding. Other places you're fired," he says. "I've never seen them try to hold anybody back. That's probably the most refreshing thing in the world to me."

He plans to enter the culinary program as soon as it's open so that he might gain a deeper understanding of all food. He wants to eventually travel the world and cook with the top cooks.
"Whether I end up being a chef forever or not, I'd like to make it to the top, and from there reevaluate what I want to do," Anthony says. Countering gentrification
Much culture, especially black culture, has been pushed out of North and Northeast Portland as the area gentrified and became whiter over the years.
As an African-American, Mondaine hopes to bring "some of the business back to the African-American community."

All of his businesses, including Po'Shines Cafe De La Soul, sister cafe Poshette’s, and the culinary clinic, are located in North and Northeast Portland. He has lived in the area for the past 30 years. His church, Celebration Tabernacle, also is on North Denver Avenue.
Mondaine hopes the culinary school will add to the diversity and house a melting pot of students from all different ages and backgrounds.

"I really want each class to have ridiculous demographics," he says. " ... and to be like 20 up to 60 (years old) in each class. All those cultures and all those differences in one classroom? Wow, you get a whole bunch of stuff in there," he says.
The menu will focus on American and Southern cuisine with a specialty in soul food, and he says training will incorporate "some of those traditional things that the area was famous for." It will also offer classes for folks who aren't interested in completing a full culinary program.

Mondaine sees his endeavors as being in the "spirit of plentiful" and a "tribute to the reorganization of African culture in the gentrified state that it's in."

"We('re) cool though. We're resilient ... we have a unique opportunity here because we've been (maligned as) the whitest city in America and the most racist," Mondaine says. He has two white daughters-in-law and five mixed-race grandchildren.
"So whatever part I can be — the best thing I can do is be a bridge-builder and help destroy that picture as much as I can."

Chitlin Fest
Po'Shines Cafe De La Soul holds its 10th annual Chitlin Fest this weekend at the cafe, 8139 N. Denver Ave. Chitlins "to a black man in the day was like filet mignon to the white man," says Pastor E.D. Mondaine. It's a Southern Creole dish, also called chitterlings, prepared from the intestines of a pig. It's not often found in Portland or in the Pacific Northwest.
"Historically, we ate from the scraps. We learned how to eat all the leftovers so they would throw the innards of the pigs out and we would have to learn how to deal with them. ... It was a part of the whole African American experience," Mondaine says. "And then it became part of the white culture as well because they ate what the slaves cooked."