Cooking up a future

Dagostino thanked Mallozzi's for making the program possible.

"The [company] volunteered their corporate chef for this program, and they have given up their time and resources to make this program successful," said Dagostino. "Those are the types of partnerships between the sheriff's office and the business community and the community itself as a whole we are looking to form in order to provide these programs."

Janet Bowers of Mallozzi's said the company thought the cooking program would be a good way to give back to the community. She said that instead of just providing a monetary donation, it was a chance get out in the community and make a difference one on one.

"We originally designed the program with a full syllabus so they understand the basics of cooking and prepping and made sure to cover sanitation with them," said Bowers. "[Chef Ryan Huneau] could see that they were really starting to get engaged in the whole concept of the class."

Moving forward, said Bowers, the company hopes to lend various chefs to the program, but Huneau said he looks forward to teaching again.

"When I went in there it was like walking into a jail, but by the end, everyone was having a good time and enjoyed being there. I definitely feel like I affected these people to some extent," said Huneau. "It was nice to see someone get something out of it when there is probably a lot of unproductive ways to spend their time."

When Huneau was first approached about the program, he said he didn't know what to expect, but the inmates warmed up to him and dove into the work. Only one of the inmates participating had previous culinary experience, but Huneau said they all learned a lot, and he checked their notes after every class. If they did make a mistake, he said they were quick to learn from it.

"I just wanted to give something back. I thought this would be a more hands on of an approach of giving back," said Huneau.""

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