Graduate Success Story: Derrick Bouknight

Leave a comment

Derrick-DishesbyDoe

Derrick never thought cooking would change his life. Then again, he never expected to achieve most of what he has over the past three years.

Derrick was at a low point in his life when he joined The Doe Fund. “I had lost my job, custody of my children, my apartment, and my car. Then I went to jail. I didn’t mentally or emotionally recover from those loses.” Ready, Willing & Able, The Doe Fund’s transitional work program for formerly incarcerated and homeless men, offered Derrick the chance to start again.

As much as he loves it now, Derrick wasn’t excited about joining The Doe Fund’s Culinary Arts team at first. But then, “I started having fun and learning things.” That’s when he decided to dedicate himself to the kitchen.

After graduating from Ready, Willing & Able, Derrick became a full-time employee in the Culinary Arts department, where he is Food Service Coordinator, Customer Service Class Instructor, and Farmers’ Market Manager.

He is eager to improve and give his all in the kitchen. “Being able to grow, learn and progress is such an amazing feeling.” Yet some of the most important changes in Derrick’s life have taken place outside of the kitchen. “I’m able to raise and take care of my grandchildren and children like I truly want to, and I’m able to be a positive role model in their life.”

Graduate Success Story: Wesley Morrall

Leave a comment

WesleyMorris

At sixty-two years young, Wesley M. isn’t slowing down. He gives his all to every task in the kitchen and prides himself on always working at his highest level.

Since becoming Food Service Coordinator ,for the past three years, Wesley has played a key role in preparing three nutritious, carefully-prepared meals each day for men at The Doe Fund’s Bed-Stuy facility. “I love to create food that tastes good.”

Although he has received a broad culinary education at The Doe Fund, Wesley is especially proud of the baking skills he’s gained here—and his delicious cinnamon raisin danishes speak for themselves!

Yet the culinary arts program has offered Wesley much more than cooking skills; it has offered him the chance to reconnect with family. “Since I came to The Doe Fund I have been able to have a positive relationship with my kids and grandkids.”

Click link for the recipe below to make Wesley’s famous danishes at home!

https://dishesbydoe.com/2014/09/15/recipe-alert-cinnamon-danishes/

 

 

 

Graduate Success Story: Leroy Green

Leave a comment

leroy-1

For Leroy, cooking isn’t just a job. It’s a way of life. “When I’m in the kitchen, all my worries go away.”

There was a time when Leroy had plenty to worry about. After 15 years in federal prison, he found himself spiraling towards his lowest point, accomplishing “a long list of nothing.”

He learned about The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program, where he could gain new skills, get back on his feet, and make a fresh start. Maybe this was the change Leroy needed to finally break free from the nightmare he’d been living.

Ready, Willing & Able offers a variety of occupational training tracks but, for Leroy, the choice was simple: Culinary Arts. “I grew up in a house of women, so there was always something being cooked. I’ve always had a love for kitchen work–baking, cooking, preparing. It was just the right choice for me.”

In The Doe Fund’s Harlem kitchen, Leroy learned much more than culinary techniques. He learned invaluable life lessons from his mentors, to finish what he starts, and to think things through before reacting.

Leroy is now the Head Line Cook at a Manhattan restaurant, and training to become Kitchen Manager there. He’s more motivated than ever to pursue his dreams of one day running his own kitchen and “getting that chef’s title–Chef Lee!”

Angel’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

Leave a comment

20170113_163311.2.jpg

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 ½ cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or use baking cups to line two 12-cup muffin pans.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, food coloring and 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly. Bake for 20 minutes. In another large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and 1 tsp. vanilla together until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Once cupcakes are completely cool, top with cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

Happy Retirement, James!

Leave a comment

james

Fifteen years ago, James was in a dark place. He had lost everything because of drugs and alcohol: his family, his home, and his job. The path before him was unclear–all he knew was the he couldn’t live like this anymore.

Then, James walked through The Doe Fund’s doors and his future started to take shape. “Everything changed for me. I was able to regain the self-respect that I had lost and learned new skills I never knew I had in me.”

The biggest skill he uncovered? Cooking. After completing The Doe Fund’s Culinary Arts training, he was hired to teach other men in the program, himself.

Since then, James has taught more than 1,000 Culinary Arts trainees. But he’s done much more than that. “Many guys come to me, not sure of themselves or what they want to do. Some are on the verge of giving up. I talk to them like a father or a big brother and even pray for them. Then they train and go out and get hired by major companies. It not only helps them…it helps me be a better person.”

Now James is busy cooking up something different: plans for his retirement. “I’ll be focusing more on my health, working more as a deacon in my church, and spending more time with my family–especially the grandchildren.”

James knows his life would have been very different if he hadn’t found The Doe Fund all those years ago.

“The Doe Fund changed my life and helped to make me a better person.” And The Doe Fund is a better place because of him.

Thank you and good luck, James!

Apple Bread with Honey Glaze

Leave a comment

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-3-48-15-pm

What better way to welcome the start of Rosh Hashanah than with a traditional apple bread with honey glaze? During the Jewish New Year, an apple slice dipped in honey is a way to express your hopes for a sweet and fruitful year. This recipe comes from our Director of Food Services, Chef Gino Dalesandro. Enjoy!

Apple Bread with Honey Glaze

Ingredients:
5 apples (peeled and chopped)
1¼ c butter
2½ c sugar
1¼ c buttermilk
3½ tsp vanilla
3½ tsp baking soda
3 c flour
6 eggs
(add walnuts if desired)

Topping:
1¼ c butter
1¼ c flour
1¼ c sugar
3½ tsp cinnamon

Honey Butter Glaze:
1 c honey
1 c butter

Directions:
1. Cream together butter and sugar until it becomes a paste
2. Slowly add eggs until it becomes absorbed
3. Mix all ingredients together until smooth while alternating from wet to dry
4. Add in chopped apples (and walnuts if desired)
5. Pour into 2 loaf pans
6. Combine all ingredients for topping until it clumps into small chunky pieces
7. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar topping evenly onto loaves
8. Bake at 325 degree for one hour
9. Place ingredients for honey butter glaze into pot. Reduce to thick syrup. Brush on cool loaves and serve.

 

Homemade Chicken Soup

Leave a comment

20160929_103510.jpg

This homemade recipe originates from the soup lesson of our culinary training program. Under the guidance of our chef instructors, students follow the recipe and learn the key techniques of soup making. Chicken soup is a staple of the fall season, and as the weather begins to cool, we are pleased to share our unique take on a comforting classic!

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (approx. 3 pounds)
4 carrots, halved
4 celery stalks, halved
1 large onion, halved
4 gallons chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the chicken, carrots, celery, and onion in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place on a stove top on low heat, and simmer uncovered until the chicken meat falls off the bones, making sure to skim off the foam that forms on top of the mixture every few minutes.

Remove the pot from the stove top, and strain the contents to separate the broth. Set the pot containing the broth back on the stove top to simmer, and place the rest of the mixture in a large bowl allowing it to cool. Pick the meat off the bones, and chop the carrots, celery, and onion. Season the broth with salt, pepper, and chicken bouillon to taste. Add the chicken, carrots, celery and onion back into the pot. Stir all ingredients together, and then remove the finished soup from the stove top. Serve, and enjoy!