Herbert Von King Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Something Is Cooking At Von King Recreation Center

Members of the Von King Culinary Arts Program

On Friday, June 26, approximately 200 people, including Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Adrian Benepe, savored the tasty delights prepared by six teens from the Von King Culinary Arts Program. Maya Herdigein, age 16, Tanaria Wiggins, age 16, Shantel Mundah, age 17, Lymel Burton, age 18, Mackenzie St. Louis, age 19, and Ishawn Owens, age 19, cooked a healthy meal for those attending the pool opening at Jackie Robinson. Under the tutelage of Charlotte Jarrell-Mail, they prepared grilled chicken, hamburgers, green salad and vegetable kebabs on grills outside the center.

Preparing a meal for 200 people was a piece of cake for them since they are often called upon to cook for large events such as the Mayor’s Cup Cricket Tournament and during Thanksgiving. For them, the best part was the chance to meet Mayor Bloomberg and take pictures with Commissioner Benepe.

The Von King Culinary Arts Program teaches children, teens and adults cooking and food preparation skills. Ms. Jarrell-Mail has been the instructor for ten years and volunteers her time to do so. She works with our Afterschool program, runs a Saturday cooking class, and teaches the teen program, which is offered in partnership with Good Shepherd Services.

During the school year, anywhere from 6 to 15 teens attend the culinary school during the day and take high school or GED classes in the evening. In addition to learning the basics of cooking and baking, the teens learn table etiquette and how to shop for groceries, take trips to farmer’s markets, learn about a variety of ethnic cuisines, and how to modify recipes by making substitutions with foods that have better nutritional value. On July 14, the teens were treated to a tour of Gracie Mansion where they had the pleasure of meeting the chef, Feliberto Estevez.

These teens have become the primary “chef” in their families, not only because of the skills they have acquired, but also because what they cook is much better than what is available at fast food restaurants. They have learned many skills and some hope to pursue careers in the culinary arts.

Written by Adrienne Meryl


If you are giving a gift, try wrapping it in a reusable shopping bag instead of a regular paper gift bag.


“I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”

Fred Allen
(1894 – 1956)

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Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center

The Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center is closed until renovations are complete. Track our progress

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