Life Restaurant empowers youth through cooking program

Published 6:38 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Throughout January, Life Restaurant, located at 881 Old Fort Road in Fort Deposit, hosted a month-long cooking program aimed at empowering youth in the community. The brainchild of Life Restaurant owner Lashunda Brown, the program not only taught young participants valuable cooking skills but also provided them with a fun and engaging experience.

“I wanted to do something different,” Brown said. “I wanted to give the kids something to do for a few weeks while also imparting some skills that they can use throughout their life.”

The program, which quickly filled its 20 available spots within weeks of launching enrollment, was open to youth aged 8-17. Participants received weekly lessons covering a range of topics, from cooking basics to kitchen safety and table etiquette. The classes, led by Brown, featured guest speakers that included chefs, etiquette coaches and more.

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Lowndes County School Superintendent Samita Jeter praised the program’s focus on teaching lifelong skills.

“You know that saying, ‘Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.’ That’s what they’re doing here,” Jeter said. “They’re learning skills that will help set them up for the rest of their lives.”

Each of the 20 participants received a certificate of achievement as well as a complimentary package including a cookbook, an apron, and a utensil set to help them practice their new skills at home. The program culminated in a final presentation where each participant had the opportunity to showcase their skills by inviting two guests to enjoy a meal prepared, served, and presented by the class. After the meal, the students provided demonstrations on things such as proper table setting and correct chopping techniques.

Mayor Jacqulyn Boone expressed her enthusiasm and support for the program. 

“This is an awesome event,” Boone said.“I am just elated because they’re taking our kids in and they’re doing things that have never been done here in Fort Deposit. They are so engaged with the kids in the community, and that’s truly a blessing. The kids are happy. They worked hard, and they’re just excited; you can see the excitement all over their faces. I’m just here to show my support, and whatever they need from Fort Deposit for the kids. I’m going to do whatever I can.”

Brown has also revealed plans for future classes, including more advanced cooking classes, etiquette classes, and general car maintenance.