Culinary camp treats Chicago's under-served teens

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dozens of Chicago teens from the city's underserved communities are learning what it takes to be a chef this summer at the Kendall College Trust's culinary camp. The five-day program turns up the heat, teaching students proper technique for everything from knife skills to presentation.
Teens like returning camper Ana Rojas from Little Village spend their days with pan in hand, whipping up dishes including Lamb Wellington and gnocchi.

"Coming to the camp made me realize that this is something that I could do in the future," Rojas said.
She'll do just that this fall, when Rojas takes her two summers' sizzling experience to culinary school.
"I also learned that the skills that you learn here, you can apply anywhere else," she said, adding, "You learn how to balance your time and you learn how to make connections and network with people and that's something that you need to succeed in the future."
These teens all attend the Kendall camp on scholarship with housing, instruction and other activities covered. The program started in 2015 and has grown each year since.

"When you're kind of developing your passion but it's also that really fragile time when if you don't have people that are also supporting that passion or you don't know people that are interested in the same things as you, it's really easy to extinguish it," said Kendall College Trust Executive Director Catherine De Orio of the organization's focus on feeding culinary passion.
The camp is about more than looking to the future with a focus on fun too.
"Many of our students don't have the opportunity to see all the things that Chicago has to offer so we want to give them a taste of the culture of Chicago and show them this big world that's out there."
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