Heartwarming

A student plating lumpia and some of our baking pride showing: cookie plate and a deconstructed halo-halo dessert.

In looking for one word to summarize this semester, the word heartwarming appeared.

We all have challenges. In looking back, how we’ve succeeded through the unexpected surprises is where we get that heartwarming satisfaction and desire to strive. “I didn’t know I could do this ” turns into “I  want to do more.”

So yes, unexpected surprises caused us to postpone our Long Table Dinner (now our sights are firmly set on offering Long Table Dinner #11 in Mid March 2020!).  Instead, students built other projects – making an array of muffins weekly for a shelter, supporting our budding school breakfast club, and spending time after school to work on resumes and job preparation.  They are amazing.

Meanwhile, we are working on Heat of the Kitchen and our future  – It is time to revitalize our advisory board and review and reframe our long term plans for growth.  If this interests you, please contact us! We need your help with the unexpected surprises and with sharing in the heartwarming satisfaction ahead.

Back At It! With More Thanks as Collaborations Build

(Chef Debbie making vegetarian tacos & salad with our OFA summer cohort.)

YES, We Are Back At It!

All of a sudden, it is the start of another school year, our 11th!  And every year there is always excitement and a touch of nervousness that makes us each wonder if we are truly ready. Smiles work wonders to let us know we are in the right place at the right time.

But before things really get moving again, we want to thank our summer collaborators:

OFA: Opportunities For All gave us the chance to work with a cohort of 24 youth ages 12-18.  It was our first summer offering and it was so worth it!  The youth once again inspired us in how they tackled recipes and created their own cookbook.

Bi-Rite Family of Businesses generously featured us this month as a community partner!  We are grateful for their kindness in how they have supported our program over the years and are honored to be a featured community partner.

Thank you both for the opportunities you’ve continued to provide us!

Now back to school. We look forward to getting “into the weeds” soon and planning our next Long Table Dinner.  Stay tuned and Happy August!

Success! Thank You All! And Video Link

Thank You All! 

The Green Room Gala was definitely our biggest event ever. All of those crazy moments were worth it to gather together such wonderful people, for a wonderful purpose.

Behind the scenes, there were people who showed up early and kept that sense of assurance when the going got stressful.  Thank you to the ladies from NOPA and Nopalito who were there all the way through, and to the incredible chefs Tu David Phu, Yaku Moton-Spruill and Michael Martinez, for keeping the tempo and redirecting as needed to handle the last minute needs.  Thank you to our donors, volunteers and almost daily cheerleaders especially these constants: Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, Josey Baker Bread, Nopalito and Gus’s Community Markets. And most of all, an extra special thank you to the youth participants who said YES, at every step and stayed on their feet and smiled all the way until the very end!

Here is a link to the video shown at the event. Whetstone Media, it is so great to work with you and how well you instantly understand our work. We look forward to what the future will bring!

 

Long Table Dinner Friends, Meet The Green Room Gala: March 14, 6-8:30pm

Hello Friends:  This is what happens when you realize how many great people are right here in SF, making things happen, not only in our hospitality culinary industry, but also in our increasingly complicated educational situations, and most of all in our super-inspiring youth programs.  Put it all together and join us for The Green Room Gala on Thursday March 14th 6-8:30pm.

Two central themes unite our efforts: a) we’ve all experienced the value in cooking, eating and serving together and see it as a catalyst of connection, from realizing your own value to witnessing the power of community and b) we have a common interest in SF building a comprehensive way for youth to be supported as they navigate our worlds of work, education and life.  It is a call to action if we may call it that, for a youth center near City Hall with the welcoming doorway of hospitality and culinary.

Ticket Link is Here!

That is a lot.  And if we start now we can get closer to making it real for our youth.  They are pretty amazing, so come and see for yourself! Ticket link will be available very soon. In the meantime, clear your calendars for the evening of Thursday, March 14th, 6-8:30pm.  Can’t wait to see you!

Thank you All Around

photo thanks to DCYF

So much gets busier this time of year, I almost don’t want to add to the noise, except that when we are recognized in a feature article about culinary and youth by our DCYF funders, it is hard to keep quiet.  Here’s the link to the article that includes a few beautiful quotes from present and past students.

We have so much appreciation for what we get to do on a daily basis. It may take a lot of effort and there may be times when we wonder why we do what we do, but the resulting magic moments are always worth it.  Thank you everyone!

Quarter by Quarter

Every quarter feels like a whirlwind.  And this past quarter was no exception, and with extra good reasons.  Here are some-

October 5th, National Manufacturer’s Day: where our District 5 Supervisor Brown’s office worked with OEWD to bring in 4 small, local manufacturers to tell our students their story.  It was such a great way to affirm with our students the hope and drive and support that is out there.  Here is a pearl of wisdom from each of these small business manufacturers:

  • don’t wait for an invitation, don’t hold yourself back, push yourself to take chances (Kelly McVicker, McVicker’s Pickles)
  • find what you are good at, and then reach out for help (Smitten Ice Cream Ladies)
  • failing in the moment is not failing in the bigger picture – take the golden nuggets (Josey Baker, Josey Baker Bread)
  • follow your passion, follow your nose, you never know where it might lead (Christian, San Franpsycho)

Special thanks to Shakirah Simley of Vallie Brown’s office (and Vallie Brown!), Susan Ma of OEWD and Rima Vora of SF Made for their additional help and support in making this happen.

Next, our October 12th  Long Table Dinner was a success, in a heartfelt way with our diving into Aleppo.  When we think of that first week with our students and compare that with our last week with them, their growth and drive are as inspiring as these small business owners.

It takes looking back and seeing that, wow, we really did do a lot, and more importantly that it meant something – to us, to our guests, and most importantly, to our students.

Fall 2018 Newsletter: Lots of New Going On

Meet Mariah & Debbie!

These ladies are amazing, words don’t suffice but let’s just say they compliment each other really well.  Grounded, insightful, detail oriented (at the right time) and always looking out for students.

Mariah is a former Ida B. Wells student!  Now a Job Corps alum, with experience in a variety of cafes, she brings a grounded understanding and talent into the classroom.

Debbie has been a backbone to Heat of the Kitchen for years! First as a volunteer, now she is in the forefront, driving the class and reaching students as she teaches.

Everyone wants to hang out with these two!

AND About Those Collaborations…

Yes, we are so grateful!  Here are some of the collaborations that Debbie and Mariah have been cooking up:

Thursday Sandwich 

Thanks to SFUSD’s Future Food Design Team and Josey Baker Bread, we are able to feature these amazing sandwiches as an option to our Thursday lunch.   It may not sound like much but it has opened doors to possibilities for changes in the future and the students truly appreciate them!

 

 

B. Wells Farmer’s Market

 

 

B Wells Farmer’s Market – an experiment, but a great tie in to taking overages of produce and getting them to those who could really use them.  Thanks to SF Wholesale Produce, our teachers pick up overages of produce and then are able to repackage them and give them away to students.

Save the Date!  The Green Room at The War Memorial- March 14, 2019

This plans to be a much larger collaboration than we have ever done before!  Please save the date for Thursday, March 14, 2019, where many youth culinary groups will come together to serve a BIG Long Table Dinner styled event at The Green Room.   Are we excited? YESSSS!  Please save that date.

 

Back to now –

Long Table Dinner 10 Tickets are here—>

Thank you!

 

Catering to Be Real

It is always busy this time of year, everyone is digging deep to finish off school with accomplishment.  It is hard to stay intentional as opportunities fly around and distractions tempt all of us- all of the time, time, time.

But way back in January, we were meeting with Sheryl Davis, Director of the Human Rights Commission, who mentioned that Dr. Cornel West was going to be in town giving a lecture in April and that there might a be a pre-reception needing help.

We don’t cater. Cooking and eating and serving together is what we do, because of the lasting connection and  self-value it builds. We want the full arc of experience for all of our students. But this was a different kind of opportunity.

And we are so glad we did it!  The students made hundreds and hundreds of empanadas, prepped vegetables and sauces and the group of students who could come with us were happy to serve. And – bonus alert- we got to attend Dr. West’s lecture afterwards.  It is rare to witness a speaker who is able to call out layers of injustice  in a real way and still leave the audience invigorated and inspired. There is so much work to do and we need to do it.

In our rush, we again were hardly able to take pictures, but here is one of Chef Mariah with Dr. West. Thank you Dr. West, Director Davis & The Human Rights Commission for giving us this opportunity.  We would cater for this one again!

Strength through Hospitality

Thursday lunch time mid-March.  Scattered showers mirrored our morning sensibilities as we worked on something new: bringing our high school students into one of San Francisco’s best restaurants to serve lunch to 40 unfamiliar guests.  Some might call this a culminating collaboration between education and industry. We were wondering as culinary teachers if maybe we had bitten off more than we could chew, so to speak. It is always that way before an event, isn’t it?

Our culinary class models itself on the best in a back of house restaurant situation most days, as we cook, eat and serve together in an 8-9 week time frame. This event brought it all to a new level in a wonderfully real way- with hospitality. True hospitality.

Laurence Jossel, one of the owners of NOPA often mentions the job requirements to work in his kitchen:  you have to be nice, smart and hardworking – and out of those three? Nice is first and foremost. As a guest walking into NOPA, it is almost as if you’ve entered your friend’s (very nice) dining room.  There is a clear sense of care and human-ness and value that is calming. And the people of NOPA have been there ready to help us whether it has been volunteering in our garden and classroom to supporting our students in our kitchen or theirs. So yes, the people at NOPA understand this true hospitality, in the front of house, the back of house and in the community.

Maybe this goes without saying, but it seems easier these days for people to just look at the service surface of hospitality without understanding the strength underneath.  When you look up this word hospitality, the root is ghosti , one and the same for both guest and host.  We are in it together.

There is a sense of ownership that happens when you serve the food you’ve made that you know is good, and we find ourselves, even our shyest selves, moving from not just “owning” the food we make to then wanting to share it with others. We hear students new to working an event say “I didn’t know it felt this good to serve people food” and  “I loved it when they appreciated us.” Only hospitality can create that experience, this giving value to one another. Thank you NOPA for teaching and reaching our students with your care and hospitality.