Our Harvest Kitchen 20-week culinary job training program offers small-group sessions for youth involved with the RI Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). Our trainees, ages 16–19, participate in a 15-week curriculum that includes farm visits, kitchen safety, nutrition, and cooking essentials, followed by a 5-week paid internship. Through teamwork we build close relationships, and offer continuing support to all our participants.
Our current evening class is in its 12th week now. It’s hard to believe it’s going by so quickly! The students have gained a lot of base knowledge, as well as practical cooking and baking experience. So we thought we’d see if they could translate their 12 weeks of theory into a Top Chef Cooking Competition — a fun way for them to show off their skills!
Day one started with a class meeting where we divided the class into two teams. Each team created a unique name and logo: New Spice vs. Chefs Culture Kitchen.
On day two, the teams split up to focus on budget and menu planning.
On day three, the students participated in our own version of a “QuickFire Challenge” — an individual blind cooking test!
Then finally, on day four, the moment the teams had been training for: The Team Top Chef Challenge! It was very competitive and both teams brought creativity and passion to their dishes.
The judging table — including members from DCYF, our good friend Chef JJ from the Boston Red Sox (!), Barbara Simon, and Harvest Kitchen staff — had a tough time making the final determination.
But in the end, the winning team was Team New Spice‘s pan-seared ribs with a spicy dry rub! Congratulations!