Star chefs offer cooking classes during the virtual grand opening of Feeding South Florida’s new Community Kitchen

Feeding South Florida’s new state-of-the-art Community Kitchen is located in Boynton Beach.

Chef Lindsay Autry has dedicated much of her 11 years in Palm Beach County helping raise money for organizations that feed the most vulnerable of our neighbors. But she admits that there was “a disconnect.”

Now Autry, of downtown West Palm Beach’s The Regional Kitchen, along with other South Florida chefs, will literally help hands-on in celebration of the grand opening of the 5,000-square-foot community kitchen at the Palm Beach County headquarters of Feeding Palm Beach County in Boynton Beach.

“For me this is an opportunity to be boots on the ground, to see how the food goes just from a box to those in need, and to educate people on how to use that food,” she says.

On Sunday, Autry, Chef Allen Susser of Chef Allen’s Consulting in Hollywood, and Chef Timon Balloo of Balloo Restaurant in downtown Miami with hosts Chef Ralph Pagano of Naked Taco in Coconut Creek, and Chef Randy Fisher of CREaM in Miami will show online audiences the capabilities of the space to not only prepare food, but to serve as a training ground for future restaurant workers.

“I’m really excited about the kitchen’s capability to provide nutritionally tailored meals that are low sodium and low fat,” says Sari Vatske, Feeding South Florida’s Executive Vice President. The large kitchen, which also includes an innovative food storage system, is also the perfect place for “culinary training and job placement. (People can learn) how to prepare food and how to be able to fix kitchen equipment. And the incubator component assists in learning how to start ones own catering business.”

Before the current coronavirus epidemic, Feeding South Florida served 700,000 people in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Vatske says that number is “now 1.2 million, and we’re expecting that to remain the case for the foreseeable future. We will see that increased need for a while.”

In order to do a grand opening in the current situation, “like everything else in the world, we use the word ‘pivoting,’” Vatske says. “This has enabled us to do things better, to set up technology with 360-degree cameras. We’ll be giving instruction (lessons) with real recipes using what’s in the boxes (given to recipients). We are able to engage with families and the community in a really different way.”

For Autry, being able to “connect the dots” with the people who will be helped by Feeding South Florida is “exciting,” with the prospect of helping them navigate potentially unfamiliar items. “Sometimes people get a box with eggplant, for instance, and don’t know the first thing to do with that. This helps lend an educational piece.”

For the self-named “Egg Queen,” Autry says she’s happy to be able, in the presentation for Sunday, “make dishes with the egg at the center of the plate as the protein, rather than just scrambled for breakfast. And we talk about how to properly boil an egg, and then leave a few elements of surprise, a few different techniques that can turn what’s left into multiple meals.

Register to watch on Sunday, July 12 at 4 p.m. ET: 

Written by: Leslie Gray Streeter
Originally published on July 10, 2020 by The Palm Beach Post. Click here for original article.

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