News From the Kitchen
On Monday we shared a special day at the café with Event Pros Take Action (EPTA). EPTA is an organization that brings together professionals from the events industry to volunteer in different communities around the country. It is the third year in a row that we had the opportunity to meet with members of this organization for an impactful and uplifting program.
We were all split into small groups and went around to five different workshops, each lead by a different volunteer from EPTA. In each workshop, we focused on different ways to work towards success and cultivate personal growth.
Here is a list of my main takeaways from the day:
- Goals should be challenging to accomplish, but ultimately attainable. Make your goals specific so that you can track your progress and stay on the path towards achieving them. With reaching any goal, “consistency builds credibility,” which leads to improvement and success. — Jack Weiner and David Lombardo, Business workshop
- A three step plan for success: first, figure out what you love to do; second, get really good at it, third, figure out how to get paid for it. — Anna Zilinskas and Bobby Dutton, Social Media workshop
- Seeing certain experiences as challenges, not problems, means that we can take them on and succeed; we can still achieve our goals by staying strong and positive. –Dana Stiles and Harold Baily, Overcoming Adversity workshop
- Wherever you are, you can find a moment to close your eyes, breath, and meditate. — Jennifer Dutton, Health and Wellness workshop
- Baking requires focus and precision, which are two important characteristics in accomplishing any goal — Jon Petrie and Erin Schrepfer, “Christmas in July” Pastry workshop
Overall, the day had strong messages about how to stay positive and passionate, both personally and professionally. It was a time for everyone to reflect on their personal growth and focus on their goals for post-graduation from Liberty’s Kitchen.
— Posted by Miriam Teller, Development intern
Celebrations Lunch begins every Friday at 3 PM with a loud “woo woo!” from everyone in the room.
I’m Miriam, a new Development intern, and last Friday was my first full day here at Liberty’s Kitchen. Sitting with everyone at the Celebrations Lunch was a great way for me to end my first day. During that short time, program participants showed how much they enjoy being a part of LK and look forward to coming to work every day.
The lunch started back in January as a way for the participants to celebrate their accomplishments from the week. The program has gone through a revamp (more on that soon!) and staff members wanted to incorporate more structured time for positive feedback. Participants from both the Youth Development Program and the Youth Leadership Program are invited to join the lunch, along with many members of the staff.
Ms. D started the lunch by declaring the week a “thumbs up week” and telling everyone to pat themselves on the back. Everyone stepped up last week and worked extra hard to fit their training into a short (post-July 4th) week – they asked good questions and showed thoughtfulness in lessons. In addition to reflecting on the past few days, they also discussed the advances they will make in the coming week. This week, the Foundations group will move to the “back of the house,” the back of the house will move to the front, and others will move on to their externships.
Many individual participants received shoutouts from their peers and staff for pushing through difficult tasks in the kitchen and improving in their conversational skills. The participants also thanked the staff at LK for giving them the chance at success.
I look forward to the next Celebrations Lunch and hearing what new accomplishments everyone makes this week.
-Posted by Miriam Teller, Development Intern
This afternoon, Liberty’s Kitchen celebrated the graduation of Jasmine and Durrell from the Youth Development Program. At the start of the ceremony, our Executive Director, Dave welcomed family, friends, current students, and program staff for being here to commemorate the accomplishments of both graduates.
Dave then handed it over to our Culinary Training Coordinator, Tasheena who described how committed Jasmine and Durrell were throughout the program.
In particular, she shared how Jasmine and Durrell quickly jumped into their roles before receiving their culinary training due to a staff shortage in kitchen. And Jasmine and Durrell both stepped right up to the plate. “They pushed us through the time with lots of changes in the kitchen in their regular clothes, no training, and had a great can-do attitude when LK was short on staff,” said Tasheena.
Tasheena described Durrell as a mature, collected individual whose mantra was “I’m going to be alright.” Durrell is continuing on with Liberty’s Kitchen and working full-time with the School Nutrition Program at Lawrence D. Crocker elementary school. His supervisor at Crocker, Brandon, also praised Durrell and the potential that he has exhibited.
Tasheena described Jasmine as a “worker bee” who always wants to do more. During the program, Jasmine was hired and is working at Remoulade in the French Quarter. She has already been promoted and is continuing to exhibit an incredible work ethic. Her manager at Remoulade attended the ceremony and echoed what a valuable employee Jasmine has been.
Other Liberty’s Kitchen staff members, including our Social Worker, Career Development team, and Barista Trainer shared further words of encouragement and afterwards our Career Development Manager, Ms. D, presented the graduates with their certificates and culinary knife sets.
Afterwards, both Jasmine and Durrell thanked LK for giving them this opportunity and for their support throughout the program. The graduates were then welcomed to the Youth Leadership Program and Youth Leadership Council by LK’s new Young Men’s Voices have Power (YMVP) interns, Ahmaad and DJ.
Finally, our Director of Youth Success, Dennis, congratulated both graduates and delivered closing remarks.
“We are incredibly proud of you and we love you. We are looking forward to supporting your success and if you are willing to cross that finish line, we will be there for you. At Liberty’s Kitchen, you get what you put in; these two put so much in which is why they’re up here today.”
Jasmine and Durrell, all of us at Liberty’s Kitchen are so proud of you and excited for what your futures will hold. Here’s to both of you!
–Posted by Rhea Lewis, Development Intern
Parades are great, but there are 3 cool things happening at Liberty’s Kitchen right now that we can’t help but share.
Guest Chefs are popping up at our Broad Street café for special dinners every month. Susan Spicer and Candis Koerner launched our first Guest Chef Night on February 9, serving up carnival cuisine from Trinidad, Italy, and New Orleans alongside alumni of our program. You can come to the next one! March 16, we are welcoming Chef Mike Gulotta. Tickets here: bit.ly/GCNMarch
Family Table is the hottest free ticket in town. Our Executive Director and staff have been hosting biweekly dinners that bring students, alumni, and community members together around important themes. We’ve had guest facilitators like A Scribe Called Quess who lead deep conversations about the meaning of family, giving back, home, and legacy. Reach out to us at email@example.com to learn more.
Our Youth Development Program is turbocharged. We’ve totally revamped the way we serve youth, just by moving pieces around a bit. We’ve reduced our student-to-trainer ratio by half and added baking, catering, and school nutrition tiers to our basic training model. We’ve even added classes on administrative functions like fundraising and marketing. Check it out by scheduling a tour with us: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay in the loop for future coolness by joining our newsletter. Hope to see you at the café soon!
— Posted by Harry Schnur