As I watched the Jr. Chef Helpers sign our most senior member's yearbook my eyes began to tear with up pride, and I was inspired to share with you my favorite moments from this past year.
This year I haven taken a step back from programming and focused on fundraising, marketing, outreach, board relations, major donor development and more. As a result, I get less hands-on programming time, but when I am able to step back with a new perspective, on how they have grown and developed together. In a group in which there is diversity in age, race, socio-economic background, and cooking experience level the lessons are endless. They initially bond over their love for real food by the end of the year besties and can sit and shuck favas beans for days while singing, sharing inside jokes, laughing with and at each other. I see so much of my you self in these kids and in the community. I am elated that the Bay Leaf Kitchen community and network are so strong. Also, the kids tell me that top seven lists are hot now - so here it goes:
TOP 7 PROUDEST MOMENTS of JR. CHEF HELPERS SCHOOL YEAR 2016-17
1. Wholeheartedly welcoming new Jr. Chef Helpers to the group and watching the more senior youth teach them everything they learned the year before from salad dressing ratios to tasting spoon etiquette.
2. Listening to the kid's inspirational ideas post election night of how to support & strengthen the community. Then executing their most brilliant idea of cooking dinner for a local youth shelter.
3. Learning how to smoke bacon, spiralize root vegetables, bake sourdough bread, and grind sausage together.
4. Coaching the Bay Leaf Kitchen, program staff as they created and executed innovative programming in the kitchen, on a foraging field trip in the park, in community gardens and on a the farm.
5. Adapting previous program models to create a new consistently sold out Community Dinner Classes for ages 3-100 to cook, eat, and enjoy real food together.
6. Thanking all the community members, volunteer, parents, partners, food producers, farmers, board members, & BAY LEAF KITCHEN STAFF for all their hard work and commitment to ensuring meaningful culinary youth programming is a priority.
7. Saying farewell, we will miss you and stay in touch to are the first class of Jr. Chef Helpers who are graduating and traveling away to college. You are always WELCOME HOME to Bay Leaf Kitchen for a meal, a laugh, and a hug!