10 September 2011

Weekend Cooking: Pressure Cooker (film) & C-CAP

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Last week I introduced you to Richard Grausman's French Classics Made Easy, and I assured you that Grausman was capable of simplifying recipes without sacrificing flavor. What I didn't tell you is that Grausman is the founder of an incredible program, C-CAP, whose mission is "to promote and provide career opportunities in the foodservice industry for underserved youth through culinary arts education and employment" (from the mission statement).

The Careers through Culinary Arts Program is available in a handful of cities in the United States and provides much, much more than just cooking classes.

The Philadelphia program was the subject of the moving and inspirational documentary Pressure Cooker, which I first heard about on Beth Kephart's blog. High school teacher Mrs. Stephenson of Frankford High School in inner-city Philly is a force to be reckoned with. She tells it like it is, and students better be ready to hear the unvarnished truth. Stephenson's toughness, however, is mixed with incredible compassion and generosity.

Thanks to Grausman, teachers like Stephenson, and the support of donors, hardworking teens throughout the country have an opportunity to see a bright future. For many of these kids, C-CAP is the only way they'll get an education, helping not only themselves but their families see a better life.

One of the amazing things about the Philadelphia program is the diversity of students, including a recent immigrant from Africa, a cheerleader, and a football player. Some have family support, some don't, but all make sacrifices to stay in the program and practice to pass the rigorous competition for the chance to win a college scholarship.

Be inspired and have some tissues nearby. And don't miss Grausman's French Cooking Made Easy, which--in earlier renditions--"has served as an inspirational text for" C-CAP teachers and students. If inner-city teens can create awesome meals from this book, so can you.

Now please take a moment and check out the C-CAP website: read about the program and read the success stories of twenty former students.


Julie Goucher 9/10/11, 7:18 AM  

An interesting post. I have not had the chance to explore the links, but will do a little later.

Julie P. 9/10/11, 7:54 AM  

What an amazing idea! I love that there is something like this out there to help kids!

bermudaonion 9/10/11, 9:00 AM  

I love the trailer! It's too bad we can't clone teachers like Mrs. Stephenson.

Nan 9/10/11, 10:43 AM  

I've seen this offered at Netflix instant, and will now add it to my queue. Thanks.

caite 9/10/11, 10:44 AM  

a wonderful program!

Heather S-G 9/10/11, 11:09 AM  

Oh, I'm so excited to hear about this film. It's going on my list of films dealing with food...my long, long list! Thanks so much :D

natalie @ book, line, and sinker 9/10/11, 11:11 AM  

great program! as an educator, i fully comprehend the need for programs (and teachers) like these. there's such a blame-game going on about education in this country. i just do my best, love my students, and try to instill in them a love of reading, the ability to write, and a love of learning. thanks for hosting weekend cooking!

Zibilee 9/10/11, 11:13 AM  

This seems interesting, and it's nothing that I have ever come across before. I am going to have to take Nan's advice and add this to my instant watch queue. It sounds like this is a very important program, not only for the people who sponsor it, but for the people whose life it changes. Excellent spotlight.

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 9/10/11, 12:09 PM  

Looks like an amazing program! Will add it to my netflix queue, thanks for the recommendation.

Uniflame 9/10/11, 12:16 PM  

Thank you for sharing this. I will be on the lookout for it :)

Anonymous,  9/10/11, 2:53 PM  

Just linked my post where I typed my own recipe of onion and leek quiche, inspired by the combination of 2 recipes found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child. an easy recipe that works great each time. yummy and healthy. Emma @ Words And Peace

Bonnie 9/10/11, 3:51 PM  

I loved this post Beth! Thanks for sharing this with us, I have not heard of this program or the documentary. I was so touched watching the trailer, amazing kids and what a great teacher. There needs to be more programs like this available for youth. I checked my local library for a copy of the DVD and they don't have it. I may need to join Netflix to watch this. I was so disapointed when my son's middle school discontinued their life skills program this year due to cutbacks. They are losing out on learning these skills, they kept woodshop for next year but not life skills which teaches cooking, sewing, laundry etc.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 9/10/11, 6:36 PM  

What a great trailer. I think I may have to watch this. I'm not usually a cooking person but it looks like a lot more than just culinary "stuff".

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 9/10/11, 9:34 PM  

Bah! We just this week canceled Netflix (that darn price increase - again!) ... I wonder if our library might be able to get the documentary.

I second Kathy's thought - if only there were a way to clone teachers like this.

Peaceful Reader 9/10/11, 10:42 PM  

I've read about this program and heard good things. Thank you for highlighting such an excellent teacher-we do need many more like her!

Beth Hoffman 9/11/11, 6:16 AM  

WOW ... I was mesmerized watching this video! I even got teary-eyed. Thanks so much for posting this.

Beth S. 9/11/11, 11:45 AM  

I just requested my library purchase this film. I really want to see it now!

Serena 9/12/11, 6:14 AM  

What a great program...I think all students need teachers that push them to do better. Students will often be thankful later in life even if they aren't initially.

Heather 9/12/11, 1:05 PM  

Thanks. I will be keeping an eye out for this one. From the trailer it looks inspirational.

Robin M 9/12/11, 9:32 PM  

What a great program!

Richard 9/12/11, 10:25 PM  

Thanks for introducing your readers to PRESSURE COOKER. The documentary can also be found on iTunes.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, the film, which received an Emmy-nomination last year, will be shown to students and teachers in 500 NYC high schools this year.

Dudley is still in college, Fatoumata is working in a NYC restaurant after graduating from Monroe College with a BA degree. Jerome is working in Atlanta after graduating from the Art Institute and hope to be seen on TV one of these days, Nayery received her BA from Johnson & Wales, majoring in nutrition.

Mrs Stephenson continues to change lives!!

Ellen 9/13/11, 6:54 AM  

What a fantastic series - I love cooking and don't get to read about it often enough, usually forgetting food-focused blogs in favor of book blogs. I grew up near Philly and lived there before coming into the Peace Corps, so I'm doubly interested in the documentary - it'll be interesting for me to get a closer look at students in the philly school system (since teaching is constantly on my mind as the path I may follow once I get home), but also of course to leanr more about C-CAP, which I hadn't heard of before reading your blog. Thanks for bringing this to my attention - I can't wait to watch Pressure Cooker.

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