News From the Kitchen
Liberty’s Kitchen closed out the 2017 season of Guest Chef Night on November 16th with a fun-filled night of fine dining courtesy of Tenney Flynn of GW Fins. Guests were pleasantly surprised by a champagne welcome along with complimentary wine pairings with each course, which Chef Flynn facilitated in having donated by Republic National Distributing Company and Kobrand Wines. Each course, with the exception of dessert, were seafood items sponsored by Inland Seafood.
Long standing supporters of Liberty’s Kitchen were in attendance as guests and volunteers. A true sense of community and joy was felt by all in the room. Additional volunteers were provided via our longstanding partnership with Starbucks, along with donations from Stephen Torres and Steelite who provided additional flatware and plates, and Ariodante Gallery who donated a piece of art for the live auction.
Attendees also had a chance to hear a first-hand testimonial from Kayla Wilson, a recent Liberty’s Kitchen graduate. Ahmaad Lott, a Young Men’s Voices have Power (YMVP) intern, also shared his thoughts on the importance of the work that Liberty’s Kitchen provides and the need to support New Orleans’ youth.
The Guest Chef Night series will resume in January 2018.
– Letrece R. Griffin, Marketing Specialist
On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the grand opening of Liberty’s Kitchen’s Taylor Center for Young Leadership. Nearly 100 Attendees were able to see firsthand the impact that the center strives to achieve by interacting with program trainees, alumni and staff.
The event included addresses from a mix of Liberty’s Kitchen’s alumna, executives, board members and staff. Andryan LaGarde, a 2015 alumna, lead the program and had the honor of cutting the ribbon. Executive Director, David Emond spoke about the organization’s growth and the vision of the center allowing for an even greater impact on New Orleans’ youth. Board Chair, Matthew Schwartz and Dennis Bagneris, Director of Youth Success, both echoed these sentiments and expectations during their addresses at the event. Phyllis Taylor of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation gave an inspirational talk about the overall mission along with a need to continuously be empowering and compassionate to others.
The Taylor Center for Young Leadership’s namesake comes courtesy of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, whose $250,000 donation was the cornerstone of the expansion. Additional sponsors and project leaders include the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Steve Rosenfeld & Margot Botsford, the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Foundation, the Ella West Freeman Foundation, Domain Companies, the Goldring Family Foundation, the Woldenberg Family Foundation, Woodward Design + Build, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Frischhertz Electric, and AOS Interior Environments.
Attendees enjoyed touring the new space that is equipped with a technology lab, classroom and work space, along with an event space that is open for rental.
– Letrece R. Griffin, Marketing Specialist
Hi everyone! I’m Selma Nunez, the Nutrition and Sustainability Coordinator at the School Nutrition Program. I’m excited to announce that our School Nutrition Program is piloting new nutrition initiatives this year that will allow us to further health and wellness for the schoolchildren we serve. We believe that underserved individuals, especially those from low-income backgrounds, and their families, deserve health and wellness as much as any other population. Nutrition is very significant, and it can have positive or adverse effect with regard to health. Our hope at SNP is to both provide access to healthy school food and teach students how to make health-conscious decisions on their own. Furthermore, we intend to use school nutrition as a tool for further professional development for our youth in YDP as they continue to learn, grow, and lead in New Orleans and beyond.
Three new ways we’ll serve our scholars:
1) Local procurement: We’re building direct relationships with local farmers as we source product from them to use in our school meals. In this way, we are able to serve the best and freshest tasting ingredients in season. Ultimately, we plan to integrate visits to local farms as part of our curriculum.
2) Starting an on-site school garden: Last week, we held the official groundbreaking for a garden at Crocker College Prep! Many thanks to partners Sysco and Instar Farms for their help and support. This garden will be the site for nutrition lessons for kids and ultimately, we’ll be able to cook with herbs and vegetables we grow there. More importantly, we and the students will learn more about the ingredients in our foods and have a direct hand in the process of growth.
3) Nutrition education: This summer, I taught a pilot nutrition education course at the Jewish Community Center summer camp. We held lessons with 125 campers, showing them how to prepare healthy foods. It was a lot of fun! This fall, I’m starting a weekly after-school club called “Liberty’s Kitchen Lab” at Crocker College Prep to keep the momentum going with middle school aged scholars. Our first class was about getting to know the students and their current working knowledge around preparing, producing and eating nutritious food. We want to increase their knowledge of and hands-on training with the food process.
The long-term goal is to develop relationships with local farmers for the best regional/seasonal ingredients, encourage ongoing product knowledge through the school garden and build community exposure to different foods, and ultimately to see a decrease in obesity rates of our children as they make better-informed nutritional choices. We’ll apply knowledge and experience in nutrition to implement programs and services that support individuals and their families in their journey to improved holistic health outcomes.
As you can tell, we’ve got a lot going on, so stay tuned for more news from SNP.
~Selma Núñez – Nutrition and Sustainability Coordinator
We are so excited to have two Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC) members join our team this fall. We sat down with Carly and Josh to get to know the newest members of the LK Family.
Tell us about yourselves:
Josh: I am a native of New Orleans, LA and I am also a second year graduate student at Southern University at New Orleans.
Carly: I’m originally from Detroit, but I grew up in Boston where I recently graduated from Wheelock College and received a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). I’m new to New Orleans! When I’m not at Liberty’s Kitchen, I enjoy capturing photos of clouds and sunsets, listening to music at Blue Nile, and since it’s basketball season…you can find me at the Smoothie King Center.
Why did you want to work at Liberty’s Kitchen?
Josh: What drew me to LK was the inclusion dynamic, we include everyone! The diversity is amazing here and it is really a family atmosphere across the board. The cohesion definitely played a major role in why I wanted to be a part of LK.
Carly: When I was applying to LDSC, I was encouraged to check out Liberty’s Kitchen and the opportunities available here. Once I did that, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of! I was drawn to the innovative approach of the Youth Development Program as a means to create sustainable employment opportunities even if that meant seeking opportunities in fields outside of hospitality.
What are you working on?
Josh: Currently, I am the Program Coordinator which means I work with the Programs team to help enhance the experience of the participants.
Carly: This year, my main focus is on building a strong volunteer program and increasing Liberty’s Kitchen’s capacity for volunteers. I am looking forward to creating volunteer opportunities that engage our dedicated supporters in ways that complement their talents, skills and interests.
Anything to add?
Josh: I love being a part of the LK family and I look forward to what’s on the horizon!
Carly: I’m always looking for good book suggestions! My reading queue at the moment includes Born a Crime, Floodlines, and The Color of Law.
Welcome, Carly & Josh!