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!
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.
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:
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—>
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!
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.
It is official! Tickets are available here! Please join us!!!
On Valentine’s Day NOPA closes their restaurants so the employees can take the time to volunteer throughout the City. For us that meant a group came and cleaned up our dormant garden (dormant thanks to a band of hungry 4 legged neighbors that we hope have moved on) to get ready to plant again.
And now we prepare for another generous involvement with NOPA. Our Long Table Dinner will morph into a Lunch at NOPA on Thursday March 15th, 1-2:30pm, in the middle of our March Fundraising Campaign. Tickets and more information will be available soon. We are totally excited!
Yes, you can build your own inner thought structure. Teens normally give you pretty suspicious looks when you talk about this, but this quarter’s students were curious and one student was inspired enough to make this drawing.
I remember how shocked I was when I realized I could choose how I thought about something. Ask any baker, gardener, even avid walker or runner (or try this yourself) and you might also find that getting your hands busy in something helps uncover this ability and helps you step above that frenetic frontal lobe, much like a sea bird coasting over the ocean. The mind/body connection is stronger than we allow it to be. So my reminder this quarter to myself is when in doubt (or worry), to put down the screen and get my hands busy.
We are already in our 2nd quarter, with a new group of students and are they excited about this upcoming Long Table Dinner! Please join us on Thursday November 9th, 6-8pm for a delicious and heart warming meal.
Link to more information and tickets is here or can be found by copying and pasting this into your browser:
Please reserve your tickets before prices go up or we sell out! We look forward to serving you.