Focusing on a push for career-driven thinking, Project 366 heads to the Art Institute to host an off-site culinary class for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle (BBBST). The Art Institute's student-led restaurant serves as a great location for the mentors (Bigs) and mentees (Littles) of BBBST to begin the conversation of practical skills, such as cooking, and developing these skills into careers. Although the event focuses on the culinary arts, being on a campus centered around the arts provides these mentoring pairs the ability to begin looking at options for further education. In particular, further education in specific fields like the culinary arts, graphic design, and fashion design.
As an introduction to the culinary class, the Chef and his student volunteer discuss opportunities and the importance of higher education through certifications, Associate’s degrees, and Bachelor’s degrees. In the introductory speech, Chef points out how it is “easier with someone next to you” and the importance of having a strong support system. His words resonate throughout the art event as the Bigs and their Littles are able to encourage each other while learning new skills in the kitchen.
The culinary class brought together the STEMs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the arts fields by teaching the students the math that goes into recipes and the science behind reactions within the ingredients. To exemplify these skills, Chef demonstrates how to multiply and divide recipes, explaining the chemical differences in ingredients like iodine and kosher salts. In addition, he explains how yeast functions within dough in its own chemical reaction. After going through the ingredients and discussing restaurant regulations, each person is given pizza dough and taught how to properly roll it and create a crust. After the crust is completed, Chef helps the students add sauce and toppings, which gives them the ability to use their own “culinary flair” for their pizzas.
Not only did our culinary class exemplify how the arts bring people together, it also illustrates the importance of encouragement within pairs for successful outcomes. By allowing these mentoring pairs to develop new skills together, the class inspires teamwork and shows how having a support system can open the door to creating pathways for the future. At the end of this event, one Little, Kevin, said “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” perfectly summarizing the experience and the importance of encouragement in these mentorships.
The House for Proteges