A lot is cooking at the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester. Last summer, they hosted a pilot culinary program six hours a week to help them design the curriculum for a full-fledged program this fall.
By Robin Jovanovich
A lot is cooking at the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester. Last summer, they hosted a pilot culinary program six hours a week to help them design the curriculum for a full-fledged program this fall. With the help of a chef who trained at Culinary Institute of America, the teens made three-course meals.
One day they prepared gazpacho, pasta with breast of chicken, and bruschetta. “They diced up everything!” said Father Rich Alejunas, Executive Director.
“For the nine teens who participated — we chose from our volunteers, our junior counselors — it was a job experience, too. Not only do we want to get kids excited about the culinary field, we want them to learn about feeding each other,” Father Rich said.
Food is an integral part of the offerings at Don Bosco, which serves 40,000 meals a year to children 8 to 18.
After three years of planning, they’re gearing up for a $2 million expansion of the center. The 5,000-square-foot addition will include a 1,000-square-foot kitchen built on top of the old kitchen. Local chef and restaurateur Rafael Palomino, who immigrated from Colombia and started as a dishwasher in Queens, will outfit the new kitchen. Construction, which is expected to take about 10 months, will begin in April.
On Friday, October 19 Father Rich invites the greater community to Fusion of Flavors, a celebration of local cuisine “featuring small plates and big tastes prepared by area chefs.” It will be held at Apawamis Club starting at 7 p.m. Funds raised will support the Don Bosco Culinary Institute.
“Our whole building is a training center for the neighborhood,” said Father Rich, “and our goal is building stable neighborhoods through youth outreach.”