Teens get special training from NYC chef while learning life skills

DOBBS FERRY, New York (WABC) -- High school students are getting special training in a "teaching kitchen" from a New York City chef in hopes of one day running their own business.

On Thursday night, the alfredo sauce was starting to come together, the chicken was being prepared and short rib taco appetizers were already plated and ready for the table.

Chef Kelli Scott was calling out orders and bringing calm to the chaos of the busy kitchen.

The assistants have never worked in a restaurant before, but they were getting good at it.

"We learn how to make new things, a lot things I cook in here, I didn't really know about, she introduced us to new things, I tasted new things," resident Aaron said.

The assistants in the kitchen at Children's Village -- a residential complex in Dobb's Ferry for teens who have had contact with the courts or have serious problems in their foster homes -- are learning not only how to cook, but how to run a restaurant.

"Being in the kitchen and around other people, cooking with them, learning different things about the food," resident Akhi said. "A lot of people made it out of the box but now you do it from scratch."

"We also teach them cost control, we teach them recipe planning, it's an array of things...my hope is by the time they leave here, if they wanted to, they could work in food service and management," Scott said.

The facility offers exposure to other professions as well for when the teens leave Children's Village and go back home.

"We try to provide programs that lets them return to their community with more hope and opportunity than they've come here with," said Peter Sobel with Children's Village. "So some of the programs we provide are really focused on job training, education and financial literacy."

The program has a beautiful campus in Dobbs Ferry with about 200 children at the moment. They have space for 500 but they don't ever want to use it.

"If no kids had to come to this facility, that would be ideal for us, we would rather be out serving them in the community," Sobel said.

Children's Village is building a facility in Inwood that would keep families together while the kids go through similar programs.

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