A Nashville chef creates a culinary camp for kids in high-risk communities

Nashville, Tenn (WSMV) – A professional Nashville chef makes a difference, one dish at a time. He teaches at-risk youth how to cook professionally.

Chopping vegetables and stirring roux are just some of the things these kids are learning this summer.

“What I love about cooking is that it brings people together, and you can change people’s lives when you cook,” said Thoniel Hughes, who attends camp.

Changing lives is exactly what Sterling Chef Wright is doing – with his four-week “Cooking the Wright” cooking program throughout July.

“Cooking inspires me so much because sometimes when I’m sad or angry, it makes me happier,” said Queen Washington, a nine-year-old who attends camp.

He and patron of the Faith Claiborne Family Worship Center in Nashville came up with the idea of ​​hosting a free camp for children in their community. Wright says God put it in his heart to start this camp.

“They know they can talk. It’s not just cooking. We’re counselors. We’re mentors. We’re here for them with true love and we bring out their frustrations and whatever their pain is in cooking, serving it on a plate and making it beautiful,” said Stirling.

During Thursday’s cooking session, the kids made chicken and sausage gumbo.

Wright participated in a national television cooking show. He grew up in JC Napier for public housing. He says he is giving back to show these kids what seems impossible to do.

“The majority of our children come from one of Nashville’s top-rated crime areas. At its core we are serving our community and doing it honestly, freely, and out of love,” Wright said.

They learn cooking techniques such as the correct way to cut and the steps for preparing meals.

“Last night they made salmon, skin, and it wasn’t cooked very well…They learned how to cook their own homemade meatballs,” Wright said.

Homework every night is to use the food given to them in the camp to prepare dinner for their families.

“There is no free lunch, no grocery stores, so what does that mean? Here, if you don’t get the money, it means all the means necessary to feed my family. So now these kids can eat at home to feed their whole family without feeling hungry.”

Wright shares his skills to make a difference in the lives of these kids one dish after another.

The camp is funded entirely through donations and assistance from the mayor’s office.

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