Austin’s growing reputation as Southern culinary Mecca is a development not lost among local non-profits — specifically, the philanthropic foodies at Fresh Chefs Society (FCS).
Co-founded in the spring of 2012 by Shaleiah Fox and McCall Johnson, FCS set out to make a meaningful culinary impact on youths transitioning from foster care to adulthood. Fox, who had spent some time in foster care growing up, reflected that there was a void of healthy eating and food preparation within the foster care system.
Not only do these youths often lack a sense of community, but many haven't been exposed to the development of essential life skills that so many of us take for granted.
Through various onsite educational initiatives such as the Guest Chef program, iCook kitchen preparation, In The Community outreach, and a growing apprentice program, Fresh Chefs Society imparts the vocational training, nutritional education and cultural exposure essential to developing healthy, balanced habits.
FreshFest 2013, sponsored by Pegasus Planning and Development in conjunction with Kids In A New Groove, Foster Angels of Central Texas and the Fresh Chefs Society, is the organization’s largest community outreach event to date and very much so a representation of its work.
Festivities begin Saturday morning at the 12th Street Soular Food Garden. The event will feature live music; demonstrations in cooking, gardening and composting; free beer from Live Oak Brewing Company; produc
e from HOPE Farmer’s Market; and an array of different cuisines from some of Austin’s favorite food trucks. The latter is perhaps the event’s premier raison d’être, as the food trucks will incorporate the work of four Fresh Chefs Society apprentices.
It’s important to note that FreshFest 2013 is not a fundraiser (admission is completely free), but rather an opportunity to connect otherwise very disparate populations of the city. However, attendees are encouraged to make a tax-deductible sponsorship of a youth in care for only $10 (or more), which will cover lunch, produce from the farmer’s market, drinks and transportation for the day.
For more information on the work of Fresh Chefs Society or to simply get involved, visit the organization’s website and official Facebook page.