Here’s a glimpse inside PCOL’s new jobs training program, CookWell, from its executive director, Anita Narayan:

It was such a pleasure to join Frank’s culinary class this morning. Frank started the private class for TyQuae by teaching him about Angus beef and the different grades and cuts of meat. We missed Jamal today as there was a lot of work (and learning) to be done. Frank taught Ty how to cook braised short ribs and had him season, flour and sear the meat before adding the broth, wine and spices. Frank was disappointed that he did not get to leave the ribs in the oven for as long as he would have liked but they were delicious anyway. TyQuae was inspired by the lesson and asked if he could take the unused ribs home to cook for his family. The old oven at First Pres does not display the temperature and does not always get as hot as needed and I was amazed at Frank’s ability to still create delicious meals using this equipment.

TyQuae also got to learn how to prepare béchamel sauce for the mac and cheese and learned to use an onion pique to flavor the sauce. He topped off the mac and cheese with some panko crumbs and Italian seasoning that gave the mac and cheese a crunchy top after a few minutes in the oven. There was no time to sit down and enjoy the meal they had just prepared so we all packed boxes of food to take home and left a huge quantity of food for our friends at First Pres. It was such a treat to watch Frank cook and his chatty way of teaching taught me so much and I did not notice the passage of time. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed being in a kitchen more than I did this morning.  Our trainees are so blessed to have Frank introduce them to his culinary world.

Jamal is going through a difficult time as he struggles to deal with the loss of his cousin and could not join us. We are all relieved to hear that he will return to the program on Monday and hope to offer him the support that he needs.