News From the Kitchen
Tiffany Harvill has been named the new Vice Chair of Liberty’s Kitchen’s Board of Directors. She will be succeeding long-time board member Denise Redmann, who will continue to serve as a member of the board.
Tiffany currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for InspireNOLA Charter Schools. Tiffany brings to the Liberty’s Kitchen Board substantial leadership experience in financial management, process improvement, and talent development across several industries including social entrepreneurship, retail, commercial lending, management consulting and municipal government. Tiffany is most inspired by the opportunity to fully deploy her professional proficiency in support of enhancing educational outcomes.
Tiffany is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Michigan State University. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Columbia University.
“Tiffany’s unique experience and skills, along with her commitment to our City, make her ideally suited to help guide Liberty’s Kitchen to a bright future. As she assumes this new leadership role, I wish to express our deep gratitude to Denise Redmann, who has been instrumental in guiding the growth of Liberty’s Kitchen from our earliest days,” stated Matt Schwartz, Liberty’s Kitchen Board Chair.
Liberty’s Kitchen has grown significantly in the past year with the launch of a new retail location at 1615 Poydras Street and the renovation and expansion of its headquarters at 300 N. Broad Street, culminating in the Taylor Center for Young Leadership.
Our very own Culinary Training Manager, Chef Tasheena, has been named the Catalyst Kitchens 2016 Catalyst for Change! This award recognizes an individual from the CK network whose outstanding service and dedication to empowering lives through job training has made significant impact on individuals, their community, and the field of food service social enterprise. Chef Tasheena was selected out of twenty nominations from across the country and we are thrilled to honor her for her hard work and dedication to the LK mission. Beyond her commitment to our young people, Tasheena is a joy to work with and brings an unparalleled work ethic and contagious laughter to everyday.
Among her accomplishments:
- Increased Youth Development Program applications by 14%
- Increased program graduation rate by 14%
- Increased youth placed in jobs by 33%
- Decreased youth leaving the program by 43%
“When I think of the words “above and beyond,” my mind goes straight to Tasheena. She is selfless and generous, and has fun every step of the way.” — Dave Emond, Executive Director
We sat down for an exclusive interview with our rockstar to hear about the philosophy behind the work.
Tell us about yourself
I’m from New Orleans, born and raised. I’ve been a chef for over 10 years. I opened my own restaurant and it was a great and proud moment, however I had to close the doors. I always knew at some point I wanted to teach. I was very excited at the prospect of working at LK — it would allow me to take everything I had learned, my successes, my failures, and pass it on to teach and enlighten another group of people. It’s one thing to have a skillset, but if you don’t share it, it dies with you. But this way it perpetuates and goes on through what you teach others.
What do you do at LK?
My official job title is Culinary Training Manager – but I always say I’m a chef instructor. In the way that our program is set up, young people come to me after they go through Foundations where they’ve learned a lot of life skills and gotten comfortable with the culture of LK. I’m their first introduction into the weird wide world of culinary. I teach them the basics: how to use a knife, culinary math, sanitation, how to identify a tilt skillet and blast chiller — foundational baseline skills that they can continue to grow on as they work their way through program
What does it mean to you to be a Catalyst for Change?
I feel so incredibly blessed. Every group I work with in my professional and personal life are all people who are agents for change and I feel privileged to work with so many different people. What it means to me is that we recognize that things aren’t always as they should be. We have a responsibility to fight for giving everybody a fair shot. For those of us with the good fortune to have been raised well and educated well and have opportunities, we owe it to those who maybe life hasn’t been as kind to, to reach back and not give handouts but hands up.
For me, it comes down to doing small things with great love. Change is very difficult. It doesn’t come overnight. But it’s surprising to me how simple acts can really change the trajectory of someone’s life. We’re not saving lives in that we’re not running into burning buildings or curing cancer. But it’s these small things: giving that attention to detail and good spirit and cheer. It’s small acts of great love that can have lasting and sustaining impacts on people’s lives. Those small acts when added together, when done all over by different people, those small acts become big acts and big changes happen incrementally through small changes. A journey of 1000 miles happens one step at a time.
Any insights for others seeking to be Catalysts for Change?
I would say just remembering that it sometimes can get discouraging when things aren’t happening at the pace you think they should be, because long-term success takes time and it’s a process. Don’t get discouraged and trust the process. The road is not just a straight line, there are points where you have to veer left or right or turn around and all of that is part of it. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Change is coming. It might seem like it happens “suddenly” but the truth is you’ve been working at it this whole time.
We are so proud to have Chef Tasheena on the team and grateful to Catalyst Kitchens for their amazing support of our work!
–Posted by Nadia Laher, Development Coordinator
Check out this article in the Hechinger Report on the lost children of Katrina and how Liberty’s Kitchen is helping to combat long-term societal issues in New Orleans.
Liberty’s Kitchen is proud to open the Green Dot Cafe in the Rosa Keller Library and Community Center.
The Green Dot Café opened in 2012 along with Broadmoor’s new library and community center. Its name is a jab at a controversial post-Katrina planning recommendation that the neighborhood might be better suited as green space than residential rebuilding.
The Green Dot Cafe will offer smoothies, panini, coffee, and other snacks on Mondays-Thursday and on Saturdays.