Chef Cecil Morris Jr. was once a client of The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama’s rehabilitation program because of a 15-year addiction that threatened to ruin his life, but he turned it around with the help of the Salvation Army Corps Salvage Rehabilitation Center (CSRC). Most new clients in the CSRC program are assigned to [...]
Maybe you’re cooking dinner for a special someone this Valentine’s Day, or maybe you’re celebrating with some close friends. Whatever your situation, we’ve got a tasty meal idea for you from Salvation Army Chef Josh Arnold who runs our Culinary Training Program in Louisville, KY.
He’s shared a Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo and Chocolate Covered Strawberries recipes that will help you keep things simple but sweet this Feb. 14th.
Once you’re done creating your own culinary masterpieces, read here how Chef Josh is using his kitchen to help the homeless and low-income individuals turn their lives around.
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SHRIMP FETTUCINI ALFREDO
- 1 pound fettuccini pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound cooked shrimp – peeled and deveined
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- salt to taste
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. In a large skillet, sauté shrimp and garlic in the butter for about one minute. Pour in half and half; stir. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese in one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. After all Parmesan is added, mix in parsley and salt. Stir frequently making sure it does not boil. Sauce will take a while to thicken.
3. When sauce has thickened, combine with cooked pasta noodles; serve hot.[caption id="attachment_5351" align="alignleft" width="195" caption=" "][/caption]
CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES
- 1 12oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 12 oz. package white chocolate chips
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, brandy, coffee or your favorite liqueur
- Approx. 50 strawberries
- *Chopped Nuts optional*
1. Rinse strawberries and dry completely
2. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Mix in half and half and vanilla. Remove from heat.
3. Push a toothpick into the stem end of the strawberries. Dip strawberries into the melted chocolate. Turn strawberry upside down and push the toothpick into a styrofoam block, or set on very lightly oiled piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, so the chocolate will dry evenly. Allow to set.
4. Melt white chocolate and drizzle over the dipped strawberries.
*Optional – Roll freshly dipped strawberry (while chocolate is still melted) in your favorite chopped nuts.*
5. Allow to set until ready to serve.
A few months ago, they were homeless or barely getting by. Many of them had no background in cooking. But just last weekend they were working alongside several of Louisville’s top chefs, preparing and serving $250-a-plate dinners to a crowd of 100 diners at the ‘Chefs for Hope’ benefit.
They are the newest students of The Salvation Army Louisville’s Culinary Training Program, which provides homeless and low-income individuals with the skills they need to earn jobs in the food service industry. And while they may still be searching for permanent housing or a steady job, they’re now getting the experience and support they need to make it happen.
The ‘Chefs for Hope’ benefit is just one part of the students’ months-long intensive training, but it provides a unique and encouraging opportunity for them to work alongside local culinary stars. Louisville’s Courier-Journal ran a great article about the event, the proceeds from which will support the Culinary Training Program.
After reading about the six course meal and appetizers, no doubt you and I both wish we could have been at that dinner, but don’t worry! Next week, just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re going to feature some special recipes from the Culinary Training Program’s head chef Josh Arnold.
Be sure to check our blog Monday for some edible inspirations from The Salvation Army’s kitchen.
Chef Timothy Tucker’s students are not the typical individuals you would expect to be enrolled in intensive culinary classes – they’re homeless or living below the poverty line. But through these classes Chef Tucker is not just meeting the momentary needs of the disadvantaged population, he’s empowering them to support and sustain themselves for the rest of their lives.
Timothy graduated with a degree in culinary arts and worked in high end restaurants. He later spent a few years doing research and development on an organic farm where he says he began to understand that diet affects all areas of an individual’s functionality, attitude and behavior, and that food can play a significant role in healing.
Chef Tucker, wearing black, with his culinary students.
He brought this knowledge with him to The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope in Louisville, KY in 2005, where he developed the Culinary Training Program, an intensive 10 week course that teaches basic culinary skills needed to find an entry level position in the food and hospitality industry. Here, homeless or impoverished students learn everything from safety and sanitation in the kitchen, to knife skills, to preparing a range of foods, and much more. They’re tested weekly and even cook for events and fundraisers to raise support for this self-funded program.
The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program even has two gardens outside – one is the half the size of a football field and the other half the size of a basketball court – where fresh vegetables and herbs are grown for use in the kitchen. According to the Program’s Facebook page, these organic gardens grow nearly 1,500 pounds of produce each year which help feed the Center’s homeless. Amazing!
Culinary students receive intensive training and hands on practice in the kitchen. (Photos: Culinary Program’s Facebook page)
On average, 9 students complete the course each semester, and Chef Tucker says approximately 75% of his graduates secure work. The remaining 25%, however, don’t acquire a job not for lack of skill or help from the Program, but rather a lack of desire to rejoin the workforce. But Chef Tucker says he’s confident those individuals would be able to find a job if they pursued it. Meanwhile, he says he has visited his former students in their new work places and receives wonderful feedback about his program.
Under the guidance of Chef Tucker, The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program has done a great job of not just feeding the homeless but reducing homelessness through education and opportunity. He is working with other Salvation Army facilities across the country to replicate this program and reach other disadvantaged populations.
For more information about the amazing work of The Louisville Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program, visit their website at www.centerofhoperadio.org . Also visit them here on Facebook and help them reach their goal of 3,000 friends by the end of May!