Congresswoman Karen Bass visits the Dorsey High Culinary Arts Program for breakfast and encouragement.
Tychea Grey(left) with Anthony(Center) and Daphne Bradford (right), stated about the culinary program: “It’s actually been a really fun experience… it was something to keep me interested in my passion.”
photos by Brian W. Carter
The Dorsey Culinary students serve breakfast in honor of Congresswoman Karen Bass
Recently, the Dorsey High School of Culinary Arts students got a chance to sample their expertise with Congresswoman Karen Bass. Educator, Daphne Bradford’s Mother of Many (MOM) program in correlation with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, presented their “Change What You Eat, Change How You Feel!” program with Bass and Dorsey faculty members.
The culinary program at Dorsey, under Erevetta Marzette, welcomed Bradford in 2008. Together, the ladies have been helping Dorsey students realize their dreams in in the culinary arts.
“The students learning in a state of the art kitchen with commercial equipment is a rarity in an inner-city South Los Angeles high school,” said Marzette. “Learning these skills in the culinary college and career pathway at Dorsey high school will open the door for them to win scholarships and become successful entrepreneurs.
“I’m very thankful for Congresswoman Bass taking time out of her busy schedule to celebrate Black History Month with us.”
In the honor of Black History Month, Bass was acknowledged for being the first African American woman in U.S. History to ever be elected head of a State Legislative body. As representative over the 37th congressional district in which Dorsey resides, Bass happily shared her time with the culinary students.
“I wanted to learn about the culinary arts program,” said Bass. “To me, Dorsey is one of the most important schools in the congressional district and a lot of positive things happen here.”
She continued, “I met Chef Anthone, who graduated from this program and has gone on to be a professional chef. This is a very positive career opportunity that [youth] are being exposed too.”
“I think the culinary arts program is phenomenal,” said Dorsey Principal, Dr. Reginald Anthony Sample. “We’re very fortunate to have a program like this because we understand all kids may not [choose] academic-based pathways.
“Sometimes you need to have vocational skills where you can still go out and make a great living.”
Anthone Owens graduated from the Dorsey culinary arts program. He went onto train with Le Cordon Bleu, which opened doors to establishments such as Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica and various restaurants. Owens comes back to Dorsey to share with the students what he’s learned from his career.
“I wanted to give back to the students because I know living in this area, you don’t have access to [healthy options],” said Owens. “So I wanted to bring them other [choices].”
“It was great kicking off Black History Month with Congresswoman Karen Bass and the Dorsey High School culinary arts students,” said Bradford. “The students participating in the Mother Of Many Change What You Eat, Change How You Feel! healthy eating program were very excited to see Representative Bass eat the delicious breakfast they prepared: french toast with sugar free maple syrup, breakfast egg spread on toasted baguette slices and turkey sausage served with orange and/or sugar free cranberry juice.
Bradford continued, “The program supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and the students represented Ms. Obama and Congresswoman Bass with excellence today.”
Mother of Many (M.O.M.) is a grassroots nonprofit run by Daphne Bradford that provides innovative technology training and healthy eating programs for youth in South Los Angeles. M.O.M.’s goals are to keep students engaged in high school, prepare them for college and careers, and provide them with tools for healthy living. M.O.M. programs address two key needs affecting these students and their communities—lack of access to technology and childhood/adolescent obesity. Technology training remains limited in these schools, hampering students’ pathways to careers and college, and as is well known, nearly one in three U.S. children are overweight or obese, a ratio which increases in African American and Hispanic communities.
Change What You Eat, Change How You Feel
M.O.M. also runs two related programs that together will be serving as the model for how high schools nationwide can participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to combat childhood obesity. Cooking Live with Dorsey High is M.O.M’s student-produced web cooking and healthy eating show with Dorsey’s culinary arts students. Given its success, M.O.M. launched Change What You Eat, Change How You Feel with a plot in the 2.5-acre Crenshaw High School Garden as a way to revive and link Crenshaw High’s garden with Dorsey High’s kitchen. The Crenshaw students will grow the organic food and sell it on site to the local community (a notorious “food desert”), and Dorsey students will cook it. M.O.M. partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the framework/toolkit for Let’s Move! high schools nationwide, demonstrating how schools can grow and prepare their own healthy food, and how those lessons can be brought back to their homes and neighborhoods.