First things first, my sister is enjoying some much deserved vacation with her family, so I am attempting to write this entry on my own without Karlin’s editing. So keep this in mind when you read on.
One of the great things about being a chef is that you are asked to participate in many events for many different organizations, but there is one that has meant so much to me and that is Common Threads. There are many reasons why this organization will always be close to my heart, but the main reason is the kids and the chance to make a difference in their lives.
Since moving back to San Diego a good part of my time has been working on building relationships with Chefs and Industry individuals trying to gain interest in Common Threads. Last week I finally had the chance to attend a cooking class with the kids in South Central, LA. I can not say enough about how amazing it is to see these kids get so excited about the class. They are not just cooking any old grub, they are learning about cooking healthy options. During this class the kids were to prepare 4 recipes Carrot, Apple and Ginger Juice, Carrot, Apple and Ginger Muffins, Vietnamese Satays, and Frutero Watermelon Salad. Not only are the kids learning about cooking they also learn about different countries, each class is created around the cuisine of a particular country.
To see the teamwork and organizational skills that these kids show, would impress any seasoned Chef and I could not help but to step back and watch as the teams started to work on their recipes. (it was like any busy kitchen just before a busy dinner service, organized chaos)
Not only did they work on making the recipes but they jumped in without hesitation when it was time to clean the dishes, I even heard a few of them say they actually liked cleaning dishes (at this point I asked myself if they felt the same at home when it was dish time?)
To me there are 2 specific ingredients that make Common Threads so special, first is the Chefs that take the time out of their extremely busy schedules to spend with these kids and teach them a healthier way of cooking and eating. Second is the kids themselves, I am yet to see a student not show 100% interest in what they are learning and to me that is what makes it so easy for us Chefs to take the time out of our schedules to spend with them.
On my long drive back to San Diego from LA (yes it is true what they say about LA traffic) I could not help but ask myself how many of these kids go home and actually cook for their families or go on to become professional chefs, answers I might never know, but one thing I do know is that the time invested with the kids of Common Threads is only going to open up many doors for them in the future.
I encourage everyone to take a moment to click on the Common Threads website link and read for yourself the impact this organization has on our youth.