News From the Kitchen
On March 14, 2018, at 10:00 am, students of Liberty’s Kitchen led a walk-out in memoriam and protest of the lives lost in the Parkland, Florida school shooting. The main objective was to observe 17 minutes of silence to commemorate the 17 people who were killed in the mass shooting.
Our students were joined by other young people in the community, along with LK staff and partners. The walk-out was held in the ReFresh Lobby in between Liberty’s Kitchen’s Broad Street location and Whole Foods.
During the 17 minute silence, attendees were able to reflect on how gun violence has affected their lives and communities, and share these sentiments on posters throughout the lobby. There were also messages that expressed LK’s overall stance:
“Gun violence tragically interrupts the lives and livelihoods of youth, families, and communities in New Orleans, and across the United States. We are asking you – our community – to join us in “saying” #NeverAgain and #Enough.”
Our monthly Guest Chef Night celebration was held on Thursday, March 15th featuring Chef Marcus Jacobs of Marjie’s Grill. Attendees enjoyed an unforgettable meal that included fresh cracklins, Thai-style ceviche, BBQ gulf shrimp, and Thai BBQ pork shank. Each course was paired with drinks courtesy of Roulaison Distilling Co., Wayward Owl Brewing Co., and Coffee Science. Additional food sponsors also included Home Place Pastures, Whole Foods Market, and Sprout NOLA.
Attendees also enjoyed a live auction with items from Bacchanal and a special opportunity to support our Youth Development Program and initiatives to combat food insecurity in New Orleans.
And, no Guest Chef Night is complete without celebrating our participants. Guests heard first-hand accounts from graduates CeCe and Liberty about how Liberty’s Kitchen helped them to achieve personal and professional goals.
We kicked off our 2018 Guest Chef Night Series with Chef Will Avelar of Meril. Chef Will created an extraordinary family style meal that included Fried Rock Shrimp Salad, Korean Short Ribs with cucumber kimchee, Candied Pork Ribs, Miso Glazed Carrots, Lemongrass Steamed Jasmine Rice, and Bananas Foster Doberge cake. Attendees also enjoyed passed appetizers of Caviar Deviled Eggs and Gulf Oyster Shooters.
Current program trainees and graduates joined Chef Will in the kitchen and as front-of-house staff to make the evening a great success. Chef Will also included Javette Hitchens, a graduate of Liberty’s Kitchen and a current line cook at Meril to assist with the evening.
“I’m honored to have been asked to participate as a guest chef for Liberty’s Kitchen’s dinner series and show my support for this incredible program,” said Chef Will. “Mentorship is invaluable for young people in the hospitality industry, and myself, as well as the Foundation and Emeril’s restaurants, are proud to be a part of helping shape the next generation of this workforce in our community,” stated Chef Will.
Attendees also participated in a live auction. Items included an Ariodante Contemporary Art & Craft Gallery Experience that included art and jewelry pieces, a wine tasting courtesy of Bizou Wines, and a meat and cheese tray from Liberty’s Kitchen. Chef Will also auctioned a private cooking demonstration for 12 people to be held at Liberty’s Kitchen with the winner selecting the menu.
As part of the local ReFresh Project, Liberty’s Kitchen is conveniently located in the same building as the Broad St. Whole Foods Market (WFM). WFM shows its support of the Liberty’s Kitchen mission by purchasing our salad dressings (like the Green Goddess dressing) for the salad bar and employing some of our graduates.
During the culinary tier of the Youth Development Program, which is the second week, Chef T. takes trainees on a tour around the store to teach them about how supermarkets organize their products and how to make smart grocery-purchasing decisions. She taught us about product placement and a few other “tricks of the trade” that supermarkets use to encourage us to buy more. We saw that in the cheese section, they accompany the cheese with fruit, olives, and wine, which “suggestively sells it to you.”
In addition to showing us some ways in which supermarkets market their foods, Chef T. also taught us some ways to save money while shopping. For example, we learned that it is more economical to buy a whole melon, not the pre-cut and packaged containers (it also reduces waste from the disposable containers). I personally noticed a sale on the bunches of kale and saved money by choosing the bunches over the cut, washed, and packaged bags of kale. You can also save a few dollars by buying dry ingredients, like grains and legumes, from the bulk section. Bringing your own bags will get you a small discount as well – and it’s a simple way to reduce waste. Last, we learned about distinguishing fruits from vegetables, herbs from spices, and so much more.
I enjoyed the mini field trip and learned many facts and tips from Chef T.
–Posted by Miriam Teller, Development Intern