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Over eight weeks in Spring 2022, Chef Space—Community Ventures’ innovative kitchen incubator program located in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood—worked in tandem with the Louisville Metro Police Activities League (PAL) to provide unique support to at-risk youth from the neighborhood. Through this partnership, Chef Space hosted weekly culinary classes for elementary, middle and high school age students and their families, along with the participating officers. Each session included step-by-step preparation of a recipe followed by a group dining session. All participants left with the ingredients and recipes to prepare another meal at home. Sponsored by Kroger, the grocery chain provided the ingredients while Chef Space brought the culinary instruction.
The Police Activities League is an organization of officers that team up with Louisville’s at-risk youth to participate in a variety of after-school pursuits. PAL is a newly-revived version of a program initiated 30 years ago to keep young people busy and off the streets while allowing them to develop interests, skills and potential career paths. While other PAL partnerships focus on sports like boxing, basketball and soccer, the Chef Space/PAL initiative provides space and mentorship to kids with a culinary bent.
“PAL has enabled Chef Space to connect directly with police, children, and the community to foster mentorships and build relationships,” explained Tom Murro, President of Chef Space. “By pairing children, their parents and police officers together for chef-led culinary classes, we have been able to teach life skills, feed the community, and grow interest in cooking among JCPS children. While normally Chef Space is providing education and technical assistance to new and emerging food businesses, we feel like this was a natural fit and the exact type of impact we look to provide in our community.”
The inaugural Chef Space/PAL culinary program drew to a close on Tuesday, May 10th, with the final gathering being a baking competition that paired Jefferson County school kids with local police officers to compete for awards and prizes.
To learn more about Chef Space and the work Chef Space does in Louisville, visit ChefSpace.org today!