Maliyah is a bright-eyed, ambitious 6th grade student at Booker Middle School who just recently joined the Boys & Girls Club. She'll be celebrating her 12th birthday next week and plans to bake a cake with her family.
Maliyah's family knows their way around a kitchen. In fact, her father is a chef and her mother loves to cook everything from spaghetti to cookies. When Maliyah discovered that the Boys & Girls Club offered a Culinary Arts program, she knew she had to sign up.
"Culinary Arts is my favorite program at the Club!" she says. "I've already learn how to make chicken pot pie, cheeseburgers, deviled eggs, potato salad... the list goes on!"
Members in our Culinary Arts program receive hands-on instruction from a trained chef to learn healthy habits, develop kitchen techniques and plan and prepare nutritious, cost-effective meals and snacks.
"I really enjoyed learning how to make chicken pot pie from scratch and use the gram scale," Maliyah says. "Chef Megan showed us different ways we can include vegetables in our meals, too. We used carrots and celery for the chicken pot pie. It was delicious! Plus, carrots are really good for your eyes."
The Culinary Arts program advances as children come into their teenage years with additional training to help them secure a successful entry-level position in the food service industry such as lessons in catering. Members learn proper safety and sanitation standards, and have the chance to become Safe-Serve certified.
"I can see myself working in a restaurant one day and being successful," Maliyah says. "If I had the choice, I'd spend the whole day cooking with Chef Megan. She's a pretty cool chef and I learn a lot from her."
With Chef Megan's leadership, our Culinary Arts program launched a virtual component called Club Fresh to stay connected with our Club members throughout the pandemic. Club Fresh is a meal kit pick-up service for teens. Each week, Chef Megan creates recipes and puts together the meal kits for members to pick up at the Club. Instruction takes place over Zoom where Chef Megan shows them step-by-step how to prepare the meal for their family.
"I love showing my family the new recipes I learn in the Culinary Arts program," says Maliyah. "It is even more fun when we all can cook together."
We invite you to see the impact of our programs on Club members like Maliyah for yourself. Schedule a Club tour today. Call 941-366-3911.