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Recipe for help: Culinary student turns community teacher

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A partnership that links the C4 Culinary Arts program with the annual Empty Bowls food pantry fundraiser will add a new layer because of a student’s senior project.

Empty Bowls, now in its 15th year, raises money through ticket sales, sponsorships and raffle ticket sales for food banks at Love Chapel, Hope Community Center and Eastside Community Center. This year’s fundraiser will be at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Central Middle School.

Brayden Grider, a senior at Columbus East High School, and his C4 culinary instructor, Carrie Douglas, will conduct two free classes about the art of soup-making from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 12 and 19 at Eastside Community Center, 421 McClure Road.

The first class will teach participants how to make vegetable, beef and chicken stock from scratch. The second class will teach them how to use those stocks to make soup.

All ingredients are paid for from a $3,800 grant from Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County to Columbus Food Co-op, the Empty Bowls organizer.

Grider said he developed an interest in cooking as a child, when he spent a lot of time in the kitchen with his grandmother making cakes, desserts and various other goodies.

“I’ve always liked to cook, and I guess you could say I have a soft spot in my heart for helping people,” said Grider, who chose the charitable work as his senior project and whose career goal is restaurant management.

He said he hopes participants will take the recipes home to prepare some soup of their own and donate it to Empty Bowls.

“Hopefully, this will convince more people to give to the cause,” he said.

For the second year, all C4 Culinary Arts students will combine their efforts to serve soups at Empty Bowls.

Sara Beth Drybread, community outreach coordinator for Columbus Food Co-Op, said she already was grateful to the C4 Culinary Arts team when its 30 to 40 students took over Empty Bowls food service last year after previous service volunteers stepped down for a variety of reasons.

“All of those kids do a phenomenal job,” Drybread said. “It gets them involved in the community and gives them experience in whatever culinary arts occupation they choose.”

But her appreciation for C4 ran deeper after she learned that Grider and his instructor planned to help on the front end by training the community, with the hope that they will donate more. Community donations are where Empty Bowls gets most of its food.



C4 provides career and technical education to high school students from 12 schools in Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson and Johnson counties, with classes at Columbus East and North high schools plus the McDowell Adult Education Center.

Tickets are not on sale yet for the classes or Empty Bowls. Project officials said details will be shared at a later date.

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