By Mike Kinney
The Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) will soon construct a new, state-of-the-art culinary center at its headquarters that will teach 50 youth annually about the world of food, building real-world knowledge and skills.
RPAL, located at 2200 Macdonald Ave., will host a ceremony on Wednesday, April 5, to launch development of the new Josh & Elaina Genser Culinary Center. The anticipated opening date for the center is Sept. 1.
The center will boast professional cooking equipment, an open class room with tables with built-in technologies for cooking and a large screen TV for instruction. It will host a diverse curriculum educating youth on where food comes from, about processed foods, agricultural systems, food preparation, food safety, health and nutrition and fun cooking activities, according to RPAL.
Cookbooks will be produced from the new Center, and field trips will bring students to farms, markets, science labs, food manufacturing companies and elsewhere.
In addition to serving RPAL youth, the Culinary Center will inspire and engage community members as well, such as city teams, businesses, and families, in cooking competitions and programs for adults. Special guests, writers, chefs, scientists, athletes and events are all envisioned in taking part in the center’s activities.
The center will run in collaboration with the new Culinary Club @ RPAL, which aims to raise awareness among its youth members of the opportunities in the world of food, while teaching real-world, take-home skills and knowledge of food and nutrition that can be shared with family and friends.
“The Culinary Club Program was inspired and developed from a food, science and agricultural curriculum base, to provide a wide range of learning, edutainment, education, hands on experiential activities, to build knowledge around food, health, global ecology, science and fun, in an environment to build opportunities for all,” said Sarah Wally, the Culinary Club’s develeopment director.
Wally noted that education “is the great Equalizer” that will open opportunities for students’ personal and career growth.
“Outcomes and pathways will be baked into the programming, which may offer students the next step in a variety of fields of interest,” Wally said.
RPAL is a nonprofit founded 1982 that offers a variety of programming that are aimed to support young people holistically, and to help them recognize their greatest potential and achieve longterm success.