By: Carly Gelsinger
A dreamy spring winery setting. Gourmet, locally prepared food. Live music. Fine wine.
You can have all this as well as the feeling of supporting a fabulous cause at the 4th Annual Pop-A-Cork, Rebekah Children's Services premier fundraiser on March 29.
The evening fundraiser is at the gorgeous Sycamore Creek Vineyard in Morgan Hill from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be a sampling of the culinary delights prepared by the students at Rebekah Children's Services as well as generous pours from Leal Vineyards.
Many of local youth that RCS serves struggle to fulfill their dreams of becoming independent, self-sufficient adults. They've had obstacles in their young lives such as poverty, mental health issues, and involvement in foster care or justice systems. They are striving to make the most of their lives. The Culinary Academy at RCS exists for this reason. The Academy is a no-cost, supportive, vocational arts training program in which youth learn to cook and prepare delicious foods in a professional setting.
The Culinary Arts program, which is directed by Chef Carlos Pineda, began in 2009. It is a 10-week, hands-on program that helps youth ages 15-25 prepare themselves for a career in the culinary industry. According to the RCS website, students in the culinary program learn the following:
- Knife skills and using professional equipment
- Safety and sanitation
- Kitchen measurement
- An introduction to baking, meats and pastas
- Team building, organization, marketing and interview skills
- Self-esteem and self-discipline building
At the end of the 10 weeks, high-achieving students have the opportunity to stay on for an apprenticeship at Kneaded, the bakery at RCS. Kneaded is staffed by youth and proceeds from all sales go back into funding the Culinary Academy. The apprenticeship offers youth the chance to continue to improve skills while working on the job, providing fresh pastries for local restaurants, coffee shops, farmers markets, and catered events.
Tickets for Pop-A-Cork are $75. All proceeds go to the Culinary Academy. Sycamore Creek Vineyards is located at 12775 Uvas Road, Morgan Hill.