Culinary Delight

Sister Mary Jennings is on the cutting edge of a tasty change. She just received her certificate in Culinary Arts from Cincinnati State and is ready to turn up the heat on a new adventure. She has been working for over two years with La Soupe, a nonprofit that rescues food that would otherwise be wasted (from bakeries and grocery stores) and creates nutritious meals for customers, partner agencies, and food-insecure families. She enjoys helping out there, but is looking forward to a new role sharing her expertise with those who need to revisit the basics. She will be teaching knife skills, meal planning, and food safety to clients at the Life Learning Center in Covington, Kentucky.

The program is for adults, but she hopes to give it a family focus. “It’s important for the kids to be involved in preparing the meals. They are more likely to eat good food if they understand where it comes from and if they get a chance to help make it. Some kids won’t eat vegetables (some parents won’t eat vegetables for that matter), so this is another way to remind people to make good choices.” But Sister Mary knows that more than lessons are needed.

"It won’t do any good to explain how to cook if they can’t do it in their own home. I have heard stories where people will tell me, ‘There are six of us, but we only have three plates, so we take turns.’ I want to give them some basics for the kitchen—a decent knife, utensils, pots and pans—just enough to get started. This will give them the tools they need to apply what they’ve learned and help them have the confidence to realize they can do it at home.”

How will she fund these gifts? She’ll apply for grants and look for private donations, but she has another angle up the sleeve of her chef’s jacket. “I plan to do private lessons—individuals and small groups. I can do knife skills or a special dish or dinner plan. I can even do a dinner party—a small one, that is.” But she might also consider a part-time, paid position. “My learning path helped me discover my passion and I’m open to using it in a variety of ways to help others.”

So, if you’re looking for an idea for your next girls’ night out, cool dads’ group, or a special get-together, you can count on Sister Mary for a heavenly treat while helping her help others. Get in touch with her at majen6@yahoo.com.