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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Culinary camp teaches IN teens cooking, business skills

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author Terri Dee, Anchor/Producer

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Monday, June 17, 2024   

Kids' summer camp means horseback riding, hiking and scavenger hunts. But one Indianapolis chef is using the school break to teach youths cooking and business skills.

The Culinary Art Summer Bootcamp instructs participants - generally ages 16 to 22 - on food handling, healthy meal preparation, and table etiquette.

Twelve students attended the first camp in 2023. This year, the enrollment number is 28.

Healthy Soul Indy founder and chef Tawana Gulley saw a niche she wanted to fill.

"The camp initially started with just me seeing that there were just wayward kids that needed some guidance and something to do," said Gulley. "The only thing that I felt like I could bring to the table and offer them was my skill set in the culinary-arts area."

Gulley credited career development teacher Eric Kilbride with creating the camp's blueprint and securing funding. She said previous students have received certification for culinary careers.

According to workforce site Indiana Career Explorer, the average annual salary for a chef is almost $55,000.

Business and food-industry professionals are invited to the camp to share their expertise about financial literacy, marketing, and having a business plan.

The importance of customer service and responsibility are discussed in roundtable talks. Gulley said she strives to provide a well-rounded camp experience.

"So after we train them, and after they go through their morning with an entrepreneur, they go out and they work with these vendors for two hours out of the day," said Gulley. "So, we have a certified trainer that comes and works out with the kids and talks to them about health and wellness."

Another important part of the camp is to raise participants' awareness about food deserts, particularly in urban areas.

The 2024 Survey Report: Food Assistance and Hunger in Indiana, indicates the U.S. Census found the percentage of Black households in Indiana with food insufficiency was twice as high - at 23%, while the general population is at almost 12%.





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