Ai Culinary Programs Help Local Organizations Fight Hunger
Filed under: Culinary
March 19, 2018
Earlier this year, The Art Institutes students, faculty, and staff partnered with chefs from Juanita’s Foods to make the Guinness World Records™ for the largest menudo soup, a soup that weighed in at an impressive 2,439 pounds and was cooked in a 300-gallon kettle.
Of course, that menudo wasn’t just for show—it was also for eating. Around 800 people attended this event, with many taking home some of the traditional Mexican soup to their families. Still, more menudo remained. This soup was then packaged up and donated to non-profit organizations to help feed those in need, including the Dream Center in Los Angeles, who received eight 6-gallon buckets of menudo.
“The Dream Center’s Kitchen Manager told me that we gave him enough menudo to feed one thousand people. That’s a lot of menudo,” says Ai National Culinary Director Chef Dave Hendricksen, who helped plan and organize the record-setting event and the soup donation that followed.
At The Art Institutes, we strive to help people to live up to their potential and to achieve more than they thought possible, and this mission extends beyond our classrooms into our cities and neighborhoods. It’s why we’re committed to actively contributing to our communities and why we work to instill that same drive and passion to serve in our students.
So, when it comes to our Culinary programs, it should be no surprise that donating menudo is only one of the many ways we’re helping to fight hunger in our communities.
Across our schools, many Culinary students and staff donate their talents to community events; for example, Ai Fort Lauderdale has for six years helped with a fundraising event called Chefs Helping the Homeless. At the end of each quarter, the schools regularly donate leftover food to various local organizations and missions. Recently, planning also began for a national event where every meal purchased at Ai campus restaurants for a one-week period will result in a matching meal donation, with more information being announced soon.
“As a chef, you deal with food. It’s our craft, the center of our lives, but there are people who day-to-day don’t know if they will have food in front of them,” says Chef Hendricksen. “It’s so important for a chef to interact with food banks and food kitchens. The restaurant industry needs to make sure that any food we cannot use does not go to waste and instead goes to feed people less fortunate. It has to be part of a chef’s culture to think along these lines, and we want to teach our students that this is important to them as future chefs.”
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