Penn College culinary alum feeds “souls”

Penn College culinary alum feeds “souls”


(Music Begins) What I enjoy the most out of
life is giving back. That’s why I love where I’m out now because a lot of the guests and
customers who come in, they are food insecure one way or another so when they do enjoy their
meal, you are really not just feeding their stomach you’re feeding their soul in a way. JBJ Soul Kitchen is a part of the Soul Foundation. We do provide fine dining in a nonjudgemental atmosphere. We feed paying customers and food insecure customers alike. We give them an
envelope. If they put money in the envelope it offsets the people who aren’t able to put
money in the envelope. We do have a suggested donation of $20 for the three-course meal,
or we suggest they join the community and volunteer throughout the restaurant. If you
want to clear your table, that helps us out a long way. If you want to come in a little
bit early and help us sweep out the place, that helps us. Or if we are getting ready
to close, do you mind taking out the trash. Little things like that kind of helps them
feel like they’re not getting a handout. We’re empowering them in some sense.
The first thing you see when you’re coming onto Penn College is that huge American flag
and all the flowers. It was beautiful. Going from a community college to Penn College,
you can really see the difference. You’re doing what you’re learning. So you’re learning
about it, and then you’re implementing it. Real-world education while having that classroom
education at the same time. You really built good relationships with your instructors.
They knew you. They knew you’re capabilities, what you were able to do, what you weren’t
able to do. Really guided you that way. It’s really a caring and providing school.
It’s just me running the kitchen and the front of the house. We’re looking at roughly around
30 to 40 people per day. We do get a lot of repeat customers. A few weeks ago we just
did our 100,000 meal served between both locations. You’re not just feeding them basic stuff.
You’re looking to make sure that it’s healthy. That it’s substantial, farm to table type
food. We typically serve American regional. The three-course meal includes an appetizer
which is typically a soup or a salad. We always have about five main courses on the menu.
We have chicken, a beef or a pork, a seafood of some sort, a vegan or vegetarian, and then
a kids’ meal. We change our desserts daily, and we always provide fresh fruit if they
want that instead. I love cooking. I love all that stuff. But being able to feed someone
who really needs it , someone who really wants it goes a long way. You can actually see the
difference you’re making in people’s lives. And a lot of times you’ll notice that the
ones that have the least are willing to give the most. That drives us. That makes us want
to work harder, want to do more, want to provide the best food, the best experience we can.
(Music stops)

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