Our programs in Columbia County and New York City are both rooted in the same goal: to teach young people about healthy food and how to cook it. The Sylvia Center hosts an annual cooking day for teens from both programs so that they can meet and connect over food.
On Monday, our teen students from the Questar III Program, a culinary vocational program based in the Hudson Valley, and the teens from Grand Street Settlement Center from the Lower East Side joined forces to cook a delicious meal in the Learning Kitchen at Great Performances in New York City. It was a busy, crowded and productive class: the fourteen teen chefs worked together to prepare a delicious Mexican feast including: chicken tacos with handmade tortillas, cabbage slaw, salsa verde and spicy chocolate truffles. With many cooks in the kitchen, students did a wonderful job of sharing the small space and collaborating on each dish. Chatter was high as students talked about ways to chop, mix, and taste. And over the final meal, budding friendships merged with happy taste buds.
Everyone also enjoyed getting a to see a bustling commercial kitchen and getting a taste of what it might be like to work in one of the city’s best catering companies. In addition to attending the cooking class, the Questar students tried some diverse culinary offerings of lower Manhattan, including cheese and salumi from Little Italy and dumplings from Chinatown. For many of the students, this was their first time visiting New York City, so the gastronomic tour was truly an exciting adventure.