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Weeks Seven, Eight, and Beyond: “Hope, Opportunity, and a Second Chance”

on September 17 | in News & Updates | by | with No Comments

In a quick and dynamic blur of movement, we have concluded the training portion of our Empower L.A. program.

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In the final weeks of training, Chef Advocate Trainees Ronnie and Maria finish canning some beautiful pickled vegetables.

In the final weeks of training, Chef Advocate Trainees Ronnie and Maria finish canning jars of beautiful pickled vegetables

After weeks of preparation, students will be taking their ServSafe certification exams today and tomorrow (wish them luck!), following which they will have all the tools and qualifications they need to succeed as they step into the culinary industry.

Eight weeks of learning, love, and laughter have filled the kitchen and classroom, and through the support and guidance of Empower L.A. staff, students are now ready to embark on the internship portion of the program.

For the next four weeks, Empower L.A. students will be leaving the nest and venturing into the greater Los Angeles community. From catering companies to small businesses to restaurants and beyond, students will have the opportunity to work with culinary professionals and receive hands on experience in the food industry.

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Empower L.A. Class Four Internship Host Sites

Semolina Artisanal Pasta

The Empanada Shop

First Spoonful

Chef Nourish

Joan’s on Third

Kore Kitchen

Manifesto Cafe

Proof Bakery

Post & Beam

Good Girl Dinette

Mud Hen Tavern

MEND Poverty

Saint Vincent Meals on Wheels

Matthew Kenney’s Plant, Food, & Wine

Eveleigh

Project Angel Food

L.A. Kitchen

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At this exciting transition point in the Empower L.A. program, I had the opportunity to sit down with the students and ask them to reflect on their L.A. Kitchen experiences so far. I asked students to respond to four questions, and the responses they wrote were enough to warm your heart and put a hearty smile on your face.

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Question One: What has been your favorite part about your L.A. Kitchen experience?

      “The way my peers and I have come together. The support from the teachers has helped me come out of my shell.”

      “The variety of class that we participate in. The program helps us in different areas of our life and I really enjoy that.”

      “…The self empowerment I’ve gained from being here. I love the fact that Empower L.A. is about giving second chances [and] that they extend their hands and heart to people like ourselves that might hit a few bumps in the road and Miss Becky, Chef Carrie, Miss Z you guys are awesome I’ve never felt like anyone believed in me but I know you guys believed in us and in turn I’ve began to believe in myself. Thank you Empower L.A. for giving me hope, opportunity, and a second chance.”

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Question Two: What has been your proudest moment so far?

      “…So far it has been working on food, seeing it from nothing to a productive plate…”

      “My proudest moment has been…the day that we had to create a dish from a mystery basket ingredients. I felt like a first-time parent       when I was done with my dish. And I was elated when Chef Carrie gave me compliments in regards to my dish.”

      “My proudest moment so far has got to be when I got to make a meal from just the ingredients that were given to us. I didn’t think I was going to think of anything and I did.”

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Question Three: What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned from your classmates?

      “How well we came together and pushed each other, supported one another all through the program. Unity and love can make things so much easier and possible.”

      “That we are all fighting for the same goal, we all desire to change our lives and we offer each other support to help us succeed.”

      “Some of the biggest things I’ve learned from my classmates is that not only are we classmates, we’re like a family.”

      “Communication, leadership, respect, boundaries, teamwork.”

      “I’ve learned that we can all agree to disagree and we all have a story but at the end of the day we all share the same goal to make it in this industry.”

      “I’ve been able to have empathy towards my fellow classmates and understand that we are all similar and have struggles in our lives, but through L.A. Kitchen and our life skills class we’ve managed to stay determined and not doubt ourselves and not to give up and we are all team players.”

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Question Four: What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone going through a similar experience?

      “Observe and get everything they’re teaching you…”

      “Having faith and believing in yourself. Don’t give up easily.”

      “Stay committed and determined because it will all be worth it and it will work itself out.”

      “If this is something you feel is your passion, do it with an open mind that’s willing to learn and don’t give up on an experience that could change your life and career.”

      “Not to give up if you have a bad day.”

      “We got this! Keep your head up! Show someone to do pico de gallo. Cut the vegetables into medium dice.”

      “My advice would be to keep going forward and don’t look back to believe in yourself.”

      “It is truly an amazing experience just don’t give up or doubt how far you can go.”

      “That anything is possible and you are very much capable to accomplish your goals, career whatever it is you desire as long as you set self-discipline and are determined to put one foot in front of the other and suit up and show up because there will be times you can get frustrated and feel like giving up, but after the end of the day it’s all worth it.”

      “My advice would be to never give up and to believe in yourself and that all things are possible.”

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We wish every student so much luck as they embark on this exciting new phase of their culinary careers. We have all the confidence in the world that they will represent themselves and L.A. Kitchen with grace, poise, and dignity. We are proud of everything they have accomplished and cannot wait to see what accomplishments lie inevitably in their futures.

Stay tuned!

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