There are over 200 alumni of our Youth Development Program working, learning and leading in New Orleans and beyond. Graduates leave Liberty’s Kitchen with a range of technical and transferable skills that they can bring to any workplace–whether in culinary and hospitality or elsewhere. More than that, they join a network of graduates and stay connected to our community through our Youth Leadership Program, which is open to all graduates, with no expiration date.
After Kiall graduated from Liberty’s Kitchen’s Youth Development Program in 2015, he steadily gained culinary experience working in hotels all over the city, as he kept in touch with his coaches here at Liberty’s Kitchen. Our program team provided Kiall with ongoing mentorship and career coaching as he navigated the hospitality industry, and he became an active member of the Youth Leadership Council.
Kiall eventually brought his talents back to Liberty’s Kitchen as the Distribution Manager for Top Box Foods Louisiana. With the ongoing support of the Youth Leadership Program and the Youth Leadership Council, Kiall has continued to thrive and expand his skill set.
In 2019 he earned a scholarship to the International Culinary Center in New York from the MiNO Foundation, where he is taking a variety of classes with a focus on butchery.
You may remember Syrena from her sold-out Guest Chef Night in July 2018. After graduating in 2010, this New Orleans native became the first Liberty’s Kitchen graduate to study at the International Culinary Center through the ChefsMove! Scholarship (now the MiNO Foundation scholarship).
She’s now a private chef, Chopped Champion, and has worked in some of New Orleans’ best restaurants. More than that, Syrena is passing on her gifts to others, teaching culinary skills at Job Corps and mentoring other up-and-coming chefs. Syrena has much more ahead of her and we are so honored to be a part of her story.
The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) at Liberty’s Kitchen provides the organization’s alumni with over 9 months of continued support and opportunities for leadership development. All YDP alumni are eligible to participate in field trips, workshops, and individual supports aimed increasing job retention, expanding career exposure, and building social capital.
Our Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is a select group of alumni leading the cutting edge of our work in career advancement, food access, and entrepreneurship. Through the YLC, we aim to build a more youth-centric organization, create positive opportunities for alumni and participants, and change the narratives surrounding young people in New Orleans. In its first two years, our YLC organized a youth-led mayoral candidate forum, visited Washington DC to learn about advocacy, implemented a community-driven food project, and hosted a series of social events for our trainees and alumni.