Modern Cooks

Modern Cooks is a group of developing programs teaching local youth about food & cooking.  Below is our original story which began in 2007.  You can access our 2009 proposal integrating these concepts into vocational teaching at a local high school by clicking here.  Thanks!

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    Modern Tea

Our Original Story:  When a restaurant is more than a restaurant 

It seems that half of the people we all know have dreams of starting their own restaurant. And we felt extremely lucky as we opened the doors of Modern Tea in March of 2006. Our location is great for serving a wide demographic being at the cornerstone of a neighborhood that sees a lot of changes. Our doors grace the foot of the independently stylish Hayes Street shopping district and the back of our building neighbors low income housing that traverses up four more blocks to John Muir Elementary School to our west. San Francisco's City Hall is just 5 blocks east of us.

After a year of amazing support from our customers we realized we wanted to find a stronger connection to the neighborhood. We dovetailed with a local nonprofit, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group this past summer - they spearhead a vegetable garden at Koshland Park and help fund a garden educator at John Muir Elementary, among many other accomplishments. Together we offered cooking classes at Modern Tea to our neighborhood youth, ages 10-14 who signed up through the local Beacon Center.

And so it began on Monday afternoons during the summer. The response from the kids was fantastic. We realized that if we could do this on an ongoing basis, we would be serving our local youth in a vital way: being able to expose them to where our food comes from, ways to cook it and enjoying it at a table with others. Then we started to think about older kids - what if we could do some kind of ongoing inservice job training? Not just this garden to table connection that makes the food on our plates taste so much better, but exposure to what it is like to work, and what its like to work at a restaurant? And what if we could make it even more fun after awhile and put together events at the restaurant where the kids plan, cook & serve? Suddenly the meaning of what we do every day matters more to us even just with the potential of these ongoing involvements and our connection to our customers and our neighbors are stronger as we share what we are discovering daily in these efforts.

At this time we have started a small after school garden to table program and are planning to expand into our other projects.  Judging from the excited drive of one of our newest garden to tablers (thank you Marilyn!) it could be sooner than later.

NEWS!  We have received fiscal sponsorship with the Buchannan YMCA!  Thank you to all who helped with this. More soon on how to donate