Sept 14, 2023
The young people are learning to cook
Some people love to cook and some do not, but everyone has to eat. Learning the necessary skills to prepare meals is not only a valuable life skill that everyone should have, but it can also help prepare young people for their first job as many start in the food industry. With this in mind, HomeBridge partnered with the Halifax Youth Foundation to create a life-skills sample program that introduced the young people who live in our long-term facilities to basic cooking and food handling skills.
Members of our Kitchen Team, along with our Recreation Therapist, led this program. They worked with the young people in each facility to plan, prepare and serve a meal to residents and staff. The participants selected the meal to be prepared, and learning food handling and safety skills, as well as basic cooking skills. The experience of everyone learning and working together to prepare a meal provided many benefits to the young people who participated.
The young men at both Jubien House and Hawthorne House really wanted to master the art of the perfect steak, so that was their first session. While they learned about BBQ safety and how to use a meat thermometer, they joked about being “Master of the Grill”. Nothing brings people together like food. The young men were engaged in the process from beginning to end with the team that was there to support them, and they said the steak tasted even better knowing they made it. Both groups chose pretty basic side dishes to accompany their steaks, including potatoes, corn and Caesar salad.
The young women at Johnson House decided they wanted to try an Italian classic for their first meal. Spaghetti was their request, which provided the opportunity for lots of learning and time spent together while chopping all of the ingredients and simmering the sauce until it tasted just right. Two of the Cooks from our Kitchen Team were part of this program. Each session included a Cook, our Recreation Therapist, and the Youth Care Workers from the house where the meal was being prepared. Many laughs and special moments were shared over the stove and around the kitchen island. Both of the Cooks who were involved said how much they enjoyed being in this program with the young people and getting to know them in a different capacity.
At Sullivan House the young women focused on family recipes, which created the opportunity for a lot of sharing and bonding in the group as they all discussed what their favorite dishes were growing up and how their family made the recipe their own special way. No matter what they cooked, all of the participants learned hands on cooking skills, planning and timing, teamwork and cooperation while spending quality time with the teams that are here to support them during this challenging time in their lives. Thank you to the Halifax Youth Foundation for financilally supporting this meaningful program. The young people who participated now have important skills that will continue to benefit them long after they move on from our care.