Four aspiring chefs had the opportunity of a lifetime: a private lesson from famous Seattle chef Tom Douglas. 

The students – Paris, Skyler, Philipe and Journey – have all experienced foster care and are part of Treehouse’s new Launch Success program, which supports youth with a plan moving into adulthood.

Each of the students want to pursue culinary careers. 

During the four-hour lesson at Douglas taught the students a cooking staple: the proper way to cut up a chicken.

“Some of them have never cooked a chicken before. Some of them have never touched a chef knife before,” Douglas said. “I just think it’s important to share that life skill. It’s like balancing a checkbook. If you can’t roast a chicken, how are you going to balance a checkbook?” 

Douglas taught the students how to cook three gourmet dishes with the chickens.

“I just wanted to soak up as much knowledge as I could possible,” said Skyler. 

Douglas offered these five tips for the aspiring chefs:

•    Be a good leader … chefs are only as good as their brigade.

•    Do every job in the kitchen so you know what to ask of your coworkers.

•    Cook and eat as seasonal as possible.

•    Become part of the food community using sustainable products and fighting for a safe food supply.

•    Learn how to cost your menus and labor because if you don’t stay in business you are no help to anyone.

The Launch Success program supports youth in care up to 26 as they work to transition into adulthood. 

Treehouse is a Seattle-based nonprofit working towards a goal of getting youth in foster care across the state to the same high school graduation rate as their peers. 

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