As the New York State economy reopens, New York Kitchen has its eyes set on their annual youth junior chef programming for the Geneva Boys and Girls Club, Champion Academy, Education Success Foundation, Rochester Boys & Girls Club, and the Rochester Exploring Post.

“This is going to be an interesting summer and we are committed to finding safe ways to engage our kids,” says Chris Lavin of the Geneva Boys and Girls Club.  “These culinary camps are the perfect activity and we already have a bunch of them counting down the days until their return to NYK’s teaching facilities. It was a highlight of last summer and I’m sure it will be again.”

New York Kitchen began its partnership with the Geneva Boys & Girls Club in 2018 thanks to funding from Dr. Dan Alexander who co-chaired NYK’s signature annual fundraiser, the Garden Party. Dr. Alexander grew up within the Boys & Girls Club and praises its leadership for helping him become the man he is today.

“Culinary teaching is the perfect tool for the young. Not only does it teach life-long skills, but this is a profession that teaches independence, reliability and can’t be subsumed by the internet. They may not all grow up to be chefs, but they all will grow up to be better cooks and their friends and families will benefit,” said Lavin, the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva.

Champion Academy is another organization set to visit New York Kitchen in late August. The Champion Academy Extreme Mentoring & Empowerment Initiative (“Champion Academy”) is a trauma-responsive mentoring program providing urban teens in poverty the critical accountability, consistency and support necessary to overcome obstacles and maximize their potential in school, at home and in the community.

“Champion Academy had an awesome visit at NYK where our Champions attended a workshop on how to make pizza from scratch” said Chris Rush, Program Director at Champion Academy. “The instructors were amazing and not only did they teach our Champs the process of making pizza, they also were given a brief training on proper knife and cutting etiquette. Even though the Champs enjoyed the pizza, what I found to be most beneficial is the instructors discussing with our Champions how the culinary arts changed their life. They went in detail of the opportunities that were given to them as a result of pursuing a career in culinary arts. As a program that is focused on helping teens fight for their future and exposing them to the many career possibilities they can have as an adult, I was greatly appreciative of the instructors sharing their experiences. I am looking forward to returning in August for the summer camp, and our Champions are excited as well.”

“The children are at the core of our mission, the facility lights up when they are onsite and we can see their passion grow for not only the culinary arts and hospitality industries, but also for what their futures may hold” said NYK General Manager, Bethany DiSanto.  “We look forward to our youth programming every year, given the unforeseen circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we are extra eager to welcome them back to NYK for a sense of ‘normalcy’.”

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