News From the Kitchen
We are proud to announce that Liberty’s Kitchen has been awarded a 2017 Opportunity for All grant from The Starbucks Foundation! We welcome you to join us on August 16th at 12:00 PM to celebrate this milestone, and our long-standing partnership with Starbucks to create economic opportunities for youth in New Orleans.
Beyond great coffee and conversation, the event will be an opportunity to hear from leaders at Liberty’s Kitchen and Starbucks, and most importantly, celebrate the young men and women who we serve through employment and life skills training. With our newly announced Opportunity for All grant from Starbucks, we will be able to further our impact within the community through our employment training and leadership development programs, and continue our work providing freshly prepared, nutritious meals to local school children.
Building on over 20 years of giving, The Starbucks Foundation has a long legacy of investing in communities through support of organizations working to create job and education opportunities. With its new Opportunity for All initiative, the organization is deepening its focus on three populations – youth, veterans and military spouses, and refugees. Starbucks is proud to select Liberty’s Kitchen as an inaugural recipient of the 2017 Opportunity for All grants.
Please join us for a coffee tasting, brief remarks, and an open house with our Starbucks partners, Liberty’s Kitchen staff, volunteers, civic leaders and other special guests. We hope to see you there! Please feel free to RSVP to Jamie at email@example.com.
August 16, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Starbucks @ Canal St. & St. Charles
700 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70119
Last Thursday was our sixth Guest Chef Night, this time featuring Chef Alex Harrell of Angeline. Chef Harrell opened Angeline in 2015, and is both executive chef and owner of Angeline. His food “brings a fresh, refined approach on Southern cuisine to the French Quarter.” Chef Harrell uses fresh, local southern ingredients and incorporates French techniques to create elevated Southern dishes. Originally from Alabama, he is passionate about bringing his vision of Southern food to New Orleans.
To Chef Harrell, cooking is about community. Chef Harrell participated in Guest Chef Night as an opportunity to give back to the local culinary community and have a special day in a new kitchen. He arrived at 2 PM to prepare and cook the entire meal with LK trainees. For the menu, he wanted to keep the dishes light and summery. The meal was delicious!
During the event, we took the time to celebrate three special Liberty’s Kitchen graduates.
Liberty graduated from the program last year; she’s been working as a barista trainer in the cafe for the past eight months. We celebrated Liberty last night because she is about to have a baby!
Devon is the second graduate we celebrated. He completed his externship as a host and busser at The Ruby Slipper Cafe, and was offered a job to stay on at the restaurant.
Last but not least, we honored Janisha, who graduated from the Youth Development Program on Friday! She completed her externship as a host at The Ruby Slipper Cafe. Her favorite tier of the program was catering and baking. Janisha is looking forward to returning to Oglethorpe University in Atlanta this fall.
“I don’t have anything negative to say, I gave [LK] a try and loved it since the very first day. I learned to ‘trust the process.’ It can refer to anything, like going back to school, or trust in yourself.” — Janisha
Thanks again to Chef Harrell and Angeline! Special thanks to sponsor Home Place Pastures for donating the pork belly and conducting a presentation with our trainees about ethical meat farming.
Thanks to West Elm for continuously providing gorgeous event decor, and to our hard-working volunteers who make these dinners possible. If you’re interested in volunteering, click here for more information.
Guest Chef Night was such a blast, the food was amazing, and it’s always great to celebrate our graduates. We are excited to announce that on August 17th, Chef Ysaac Ramirez of Josephine Estelle at the Ace Hotel will be our next guest chef! Make sure to get your tickets here, and we will see you then.
Posted by Miriam Teller, Development Intern
This past Wednesday, our Youth Development Program offered a career event that included a job fair and an exclusive Skills Share Round Table. Representatives from ShiftGig, MoPho, Pagoda Cafe, Creole Cuisine, Ruby Slipper, and City Greens came to the job fair ready to hire. Susan Spicer, owner of Bayona, Mondo, and Rosedale and longtime partner of Liberty’s Kitchen, also joined the event.
During our first ever Skills Share Round Table, Liberty’s Kitchen youth had the opportunity to hear from professionals in an intimate discussion setting. Employers discussed the importance of accountability, punctuality, and attendance for achieving workplace success, all of which are heavily stressed in our Youth Development Program. They also talked about the organizational culture and company values within their respective organizations.
The event was open to both alumni and current program participants and brought in a total of 17 young adults. Onsite childcare was provided during the event for parents who are seeking employment opportunities. Liberty’s Kitchen stresses equity and access to provide all young adults with the opportunity for success.
A huge thanks to all of the employment partners who attended the event including Donnie Middleton and William Owens from ShiftGig, Jeff Gulotta from MoPho, Shana Sassoon from Pagoda Cafe, Steve Lowry and Thomas Burns from Creole Cuisine, Becky Leone and Ethan Gardam from Ruby Slipper, Abhi Bansali and Justin Faulkner from City Greens, Susan Spicer, owner of Bayona, Mondo, and Rosedale and also to Kayla Paul Wiggins, Devon Turner (Youth Leadership Program Coordinator), and Dix Marie deLaneuville (Career Development Manager) for their assistance with childcare service.
Our next job fair and Skills Share round table will be held on Wednesday, April 19th.
If you are an employer interested in attending future job fairs and/or Skills Share roundtables, please contact our Career Development Manager, Dix Marie deLaneuville (Ms. D) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Posted by Rhea Lewis (Development Intern)
Last Thursday night, we transformed our cafe space with low-lit candles, crisp linens, and psychedelic Cambodian pop music for our March Guest Chef Night! Chef Mike Gulotta of Maypop, MoPho, and Tana at Treo took over the kitchen. Guests enjoyed a delicious 3-course dinner prepared by Chef Gulotta, themed around a fusion of Southeast Asian and New Orleans cuisine.
Guest Chef Nights at Liberty’s Kitchen are monthly fine-dining experiences which are open to the public and feature cuisine prepared by various acclaimed chefs in New Orleans. Liberty’s Kitchen alumni work alongside the chefs, giving them the opportunity to learn about the menu, various plating techniques, sample the menu items, and take part in the dynamic process of executing a fine-dining experience. Guests include supporters of Liberty’s Kitchen, community members, and our program graduates.
Guest Chef night honored two recent graduates, Devin and Jasmine, who both thanked everyone for attending and supporting the program. Another Liberty’s Kitchen alum, Darnell who graduated, in 2016 and works as an IT technician while he attends college, shared a few words.
“I love coming back to Liberty’s Kitchen because it feels like home to me and it’s like seeing my second family.” —Darnell, YDP Graduate C’16
Gulotta, who describes his cooking style as “Mekong Delta meets the Mississippi Delta,” created an exceptional menu. Favorites dishes of the evening were the chaat salad and the main course, palm sugar glazed pork belly paired with red beans in gulf shrimp, xo sauce and crispy rice cakes. Before serving his delicious “Maypop Tart,” Gulotta shared the intricate process of how he prepared the dessert. Guests savored every bite of the gingerbread-crusted five spice meringue tart.
Both Mike Gulotta and his brother Jeff Gulotta have been longtime supporters of Liberty’s Kitchen and are actively involved with youth initiatives in New Orleans.
“I love being a part of this event and this program. What Liberty’s Kitchen is doing is important for the future of New Orleans.” –Chef Mike Gulotta
Among the guests in attendance at Guest Chef Night were Liberty’s Kitchen Board chair, Matt Schwartz along with other attendees from the Domain Company, Patrick Bordnick, Tulane Dean of Social Work who brought a visiting group of students from San Antonio, and Ysaac Ramirez, Executive Chef at Ace Hotel’s Josephine Estelle Restaurant, a Liberty’s Kitchen employer partner.
Special thanks to West Elm for graciously providing the centerpieces and to our volunteers for serving our guests and helping the night run smoothly. If you are interested in volunteering at our Guest Chef Nights, send an email to email@example.com and include your name and phone number.
We hope you join us for our next Guest Chef Night which will be on April 20th and feature Chef Dana Honn from Carmo Cafe. Tickets are publicized via our newsletter and are limited so sign up here to hear it first. We can’t wait to see you next month!
–Posted by Rhea Lewis, Development Intern