I chatted with Chef Stew about his new project in Baltimore, Transition Kitchen.
Q: What is Transition Kitchen?
It’s a free culinary art program, which also teaches life skills. I look at it as a crash course into the culinary industry, but a resource center as well. I intend to train students, young adults, ex-offenders on the ins and outs of the industry, and ultimately finding them jobs.
Q: Is this something that can help Baltimore heal?
Originally, I wanted to pitch Transition Kitchen as a television show. I would have people compete to go on tour with me around the world catering events. But being from Baltimore, and especially after the unrest, I felt it was my duty to bring it here. I wanted to create an atmosphere around food, where we can build relationships, and ultimately keep young people off the streets as much as possible. This can also be a great way to partner with the Police Department. I want the kids to maybe deliver food to each police station, and have a POSITIVE interaction with the police officers.
This is the perfect time for people… I don’t care if you’re black, white, whatever..to come together and help brighten up this City. We have an opportunity here to close a dark chapter and create a more vibrant one.
Q: What does Baltimore mean to you?
Like Baltimore, I have toughness and tenacity. This all comes from my time sitting on Mount Street, and studying at Eastern Tech. I come home periodically and remember that I wasn’t always so well off. I worked my ass off to get where I am today. I want every young child in this city to know that you CAN break that cycle of poverty. I want them to know that you CAN get off the streets. It just takes programs or role models to get them there. I really hope Transition Kitchen becomes that catalyst at some point.
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