THE LOOP — Something's cooking up at the Gallery 37 rooftop.
For five weeks this summer, teens from the After School Matters Advanced Culinary Arts program are recreating menus from local restaurants across the city for their lunch buffet series, Summer Teen Cuisine.
The series kickedoff Friday with a menu from Pork Shoppe, an American barbeque restaurant in Andersonville. The menu included spinach and kale salads, chopped briskets, cornbread, pulled pork, apple cheesecake and more, prepared by a group of 25 teens from all over the city.
Alongside the teens, Chef Yves Chambaz runs the seven-week summer program and works with the teens to teach basic culinary skills.
"The kids not only learn about how to prepare entrees or salads, and sides and desserts, they also change the flavor profile," Chambaz said. "They get a great experience and even if the culinary arts or hospitality isn't what they want to do for the rest of their life, they still get cooking skills."
After School Matters teens serve up food from the Pork Shoppe menu. [DNAinfo/Kayla Martinez]
Beginning the first week, teens learn communication skills and the basics of sanitation and safety. Chambaz describes the program as a "crescendo kind of learning," in which the teens learn to navigate in a hot and loud kitchen environment.
Michelle Ginard, 16, has been part of the Advanced Culinary Arts program since the spring. Coming from a family of chefs, Ginard said cooking is one of her "biggest loves" and she decided to join the program for a new experience.
"I just really like the opportunity," Ginard said. "Even if you're not going to do a career in culinary arts when you're older, it's also a skill you can use now or when you're 80 years old. That's what I like about it."
The lunch buffet series will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Friday at the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts Rooftop Terrace, 66 E. Randolph Street, until Aug. 10.
Tickets for lunch are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. To view upcoming menus or to buy a ticket, visit the After School Matters website.