Recipe for success: Saratoga culinary students feeding the homeless

Posted at: 11/21/2012 4:36 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

SARATOGA SPRINGS - The culinary program at the BOCES center in Saratoga Springs churns out young cooks and chefs who go on to work in area restaurants.

Here, they learn the ins and outs of food preparation, but they don't get regular chances to cook for large groups.

Until now.

The students and their chef instructor, Maureen Clancy, have partnered up with Shelters of Saratoga, the local homeless shelter.

The guests of the shelter need to eat and the students need to cook. So the kids prepare meals for them.

It's a recipe for success.

"It's a win-win for everybody. The students are really happy to be involved," said Maureen Clancy, the long-time chef instructor.

And the timing couldn't be better for this culinary collaboration: The shelter opened a second house this summer and doubled its capacity, which means double the mouths to feed.

"Everything has doubled. All the food, the supplies. Everything has doubled that amount, so it's a tremendous help," said Bonnie Potter, the shelter's house manager.

The shelter has its own food pantry and often gets donations of canned goods, like corn. So the students go to work turning the donated supplies into meals.

"We end up making corn chowder, corn muffins, corn cake," said Clancy.

The students have become so inspired, they're running their own food drive for the shelter, knowing that much of what they collect will be cooked in their kitchen classroom and delivered to guests of the shelter.

"The house guests know that it's coming from teenagers that really care," said Potter.

Clancy says she's hopeful that the program will continue for years to come.