Louisville top chefs help students fundraise for local culinary program

Chefs for Success program pairs top Louisville chefs, students

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Taking steps forward in life led two people down the path of culinary arts. They came together Saturday to cook for the Chefs for Success banquet dinner.

Pine Room Executive Chef James Moran said he knows how far passion can take someone.

"Food saved my life,” Moran said.

Debbie Redd, who went through the 10-week Chefs for Success program, said she never would have expected to cross paths with Moran.

Debbie Redd surveys the room before the Chefs for Success dinner.
Debbie Redd surveys the room before the Chefs for Success dinner.

"I didn't know what I was getting into,” said Redd.

Chefs for Success gives people the chance try something new and push through boundaries. After shaking off some nerves on Saturday, students in the program got to cook with some of the top chefs in the business while serving up some support.

Redd joined the program, but didn’t know she’d be cooking for 150 people at its fundraiser five weeks later.

"It was something on my vision board,” Redd said.

Growing up, Moran said he was a troubled teenager until he was introduced to the world of professional cooking--sautéing, chopping and dicing. He’s now an executive chef and getting ready to open his own restaurant.

"It gave me a purpose and a direction,” Moran said.

Moran will guide Redd as she cooks at the Chefs for Success Banquet Dinner Saturday night at the Big Spring Country Club. The current pro and future chef came together to help students who will put on aprons for the first time.

The culinary training program began in 2005. It was developed to promote vocational skills, confidence and self-sufficiency by providing a restaurant environment and culinary training to individuals living in poverty.

During the 10-week course, participants learn food preparation, kitchen safety, kitchen equipment and business skills, like how to effectively enter and retain employment in the hospitality industry. Over 200 students have graduated so far in the Louisville metro area, and many students complete the program with a job already secured.

"To know you made a lasting impression in some individual’s life and made a positive change for the better...I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that,” Moran said.

Redd was a little nervous about hot it might get in the kitchen. She knows each meal prepared is feeding the stomach and pockets of future students.

"It’s amazing to have people come in, eat your food, and say, ‘wow, you really did your thing today,’” Redd said.

"Chefs...we cook from our heart and share our expression,” said Moran.

All the proceeds from the dinner go back to the Chefs for Success program.

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