Friday, November 05, 2010

Winners

Congratulations to Katie of Apple and Spice blog. She is the winner of the random drawing in celebration of Feeding My Enthusiasms 4th anniversary or birthday (which ever it is). Her package of cooking implements will be in the mail tomorrow. Use them in good health Katie! Thank you sincerely each of you who commented on that post! Here's to another year...or maybe 4 more.

Speaking of winners, there is and organization where the participants and the patrons are all winners. It's called Worth Our Weight and it's a culinary program for young people ages 15 - 24.

They operate a cafe' and I had the pleasure of having brunch there with a friend a few weeks ago.
When we were seated there was already a nice selection of mixed seasonal fruit and a delicious square of bread pudding at the table.

My friend chose a delectable scrambled eggs with pulled pork dish which came with black beans, tortillias and salsa. I chose the vegetarian frittata which was loaded with fresh vegetables suspended in a rich egg batter and the frittata had been cooked perfectly so that the interior was still moist and tender and the crust was beautifully browned.

It came with a nice salad and some fabulous gratine potatoes.

The cafe' is open for Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, the Apprentice Dinner - Third Friday each month at 6:00 pm -- reservations required, and they also have take-out ribs, chicken and tri-tip on second Fridays of each month, plus catering. Check the website for specifics.


The food and service were absolutely wonderful, but the real story is about these young people. Here is how they tell it on the website:

WOW is an organization that values young people, each of whom we believe is worth their weight in gold. Some of WOW’s apprentices are in the process of leaving foster care, while others are adrift without strong role models. All are looking for a safe haven, a place to grow and learn.

Many of these youth find a sense of purpose under the strong, loving guidance of Chef Evelyn Cheatham. WOW succeeds because she has the courage to lift up the lost, angry, and broken-hearted. She helps them by sharing the camaraderie of the kitchen stove and dinner table.

In the WOW kitchen and café, our apprentices learn to cook, work as a team, and practice self-discipline, respect, and care for others. As they work through the program, they in turn instruct the new apprentices, earning much deserved credibility from their peers. Evelyn has shared countless inspiring stories about rival gang members stirring spaghetti sauce together, or overhearing conversations among the interns discussing the merits of doing the right thing, or finding good jobs for youth who were previously unemployable.

WOW apprentices ... have faced major challenges in their lives, including commitment to the foster care system, difficulties with the law, homelessness, and significant family disruption. We provide tuition-free culinary and restaurant management training. WOW’s program invites these young people into the greater world of food—sustainable farming, professional cooking, and access to high-quality food prepared by chefs and food service professionals—as well as provide them with the skills to prepare quality food for themselves. Under the leadership of Executive Director Evelyn Cheatham, WOW employs team based learning and emphasizes responsibility, accountability, and interdependence – skills that support success in any endeavor.

Through this program, apprentices acquire valuable, marketable skills in food preparation, professional-level cooking, catering, and small business management. We hold our apprentices to the highest standard of excellence and, for many, this is the first time such standards have been set. At Worth Our Weight, we truly believe that young people rise to meet our expectations.

Founded by Chef Evelyn Cheatham, Worth Our Weight supports underserved young people: economically disadvantaged youth who have faced major challenges in their lives, including commitment to the foster care system, difficulties with the law, homelessness or significant family disruption. Our vision is to invite these people into the greater world of food, including farming, professional cooking, restaurant management, and eating high quality food prepared by chefs and other food service professionals, as well as, food they have prepared with their own hands. Worth Our Weight provides a home for vocational aspirations, teaching young adults how to create a better life for themselves and their families.

A little about Evelyn Cheatham :
A Bay Area native, is the founder and executive director of Worth Our Weight. She is an instructor in the SRJC Culinary program and has worked in the high-end food industry for 25 years, including owning and managing several restaurants. An opportunity in 2000 to be a culinary instructor at the Sonoma County Probation Camp became a life-changing experience when she discovered the transformative power that growing, cooking and eating good food could have for troubled kids -- in this case, mostly gang affiliated. Since then Evelyn has dedicated herself to the development of programs to link kids with sustainable agriculture and culinary operations.

By the time I had finished eating, Evelyn and the apprentices had sat down to eat. She was kind enough to let me take a photo of these hard working individuals who certainly cooked up fabulous food and clearly are worth their weight in gold.

3 comments :

tanita davis said...

An absolutely worthwhile, wonderful place to have in your neck of the woods -- and the frittata looked amazing. JUST amazing. WOW, indeed.

Claire said...

That looks delicious!!!

Emily said...

Wow! thats a wonderful post and hope that there are ppl like them the world over!