Saturday, June 22, 2013

Future Chefs Now 2013

I am so proud to be involved in the Boston organization Future Chefs.  This has been a big year for the organization.  This week we celebrated all of our students with friends, supporters, volunteers and families at our new home on Albany Street in the South End.  It's an absolutely beautiful new space where we finally have kitchen facilities, classroom space and offices all under one roof.

The bottom line is that we help a lot of kids who, without us, may not be able to move forward with their education and/or careers and just flounder, victims of a system that lets them slip by.  And they are grateful.  Employers love them for their hard work and responsibility. We teach them skills that help make them employable, assist them in navigating the college application process and support them with mentoring and our best advice.

If you've enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant, a Future Chef nay have helped.  We are in some of the finest in Boston.  If you've had food in your private box at Fenway Park, we're there.  Food trucks?  We're inside them.  If you're looking for young people who have had the opportunity to learn from such renown local Chefs as Chris Douglass, Gordon Hamersley, Michael Levitton, Jody Adams, Tony Maws, Andy Husbands, Will Gilson and many others who have enjoyed giving their time to teaching and working with them then you will see just how surprisingly knowledgeable they are.

We also have a lot of friends, contributors and advisers who work in the food industry:  writers, vendors, purveyors and many community leaders who want to know more about us, contribute financially and volunteer.  Years ago, when I first heard about them, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity.  I had three requirements.  It had to involve the next generation of food professionals, it had to be fun and it had to be really making a difference in people's lives.  As I have said before, it was love at first sight.  When we had the opportunity to move from Waltham to Boston I was all for it at any cost.  I knew the world of opportunities and visibility it would open up for us.

This year we celebrated even more students who worked so hard yo graduate from college, coached them in leadership skills such as the very frightening idea of public speaking and welcomed young students from places we never expected to what is, for some of them, their first comforting, nurturing environment outside the home or at all.  They learn and grow and, yes, even laugh at the slide show of photos taken when they first came to us.  They have changed into such different, better people that it's hard to sometimes remember what they were like.

I believe that every food blogger should have some cause that they believe in that contributes to the community and supports a better life through food.  We enjoy lots of impressive dinners, fancy perks and junkets, rubbing elbows with celebrity Chefs and discovering the latest technology.  I believe we are obligated to give back for this privilege.  The benefits for volunteering with Future Chefs has been a rewarding, emotional experience that I have learned so much from, about myself and others.  It has also been a strong link to a new generation that, as we fade, will rise.  It has constantly reminded me of the importance of gratitude and it has taught all of these really amazing kids not only important values but also introduced them to the idea of their own potential, something many of them have never even considered.  And that is why I love Future Chefs.

Check us out, come and meet us, make a much-needed donation.  I can absolutely promise you that you will not be disappointed.

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