Last night, STREETS International held their Fourth Annual NYC Benefit at Astor Center. STREETS is a non-profit organization founded by former ICE Culinary Management Instructor Neal Bermas in 2009. The program is part hospitality and culinary school and part restaurant café in Hoi An, Vietnam, where local, disadvantaged youth are offered an 18-month training program that teaches them skills and expertise necessary to achieve financial independence and begin a new career in the food industry.
The fundraiser brought together top chefs and mixologists such as Masaharu Morimoto of Morimoto, Anita Lo of Annisa, Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, Harold Dieterle of Kin Shop and Jim Meehan of PDT, among others. The chefs interpreted street food in their own styles and made a variety of different dishes for the event. For instance, Kenny Callaghan of Blue Smoke made Mini Tuna Tacos, David Suarez of Rosa Mexicano made Banh Mi Mexicano and David Waltuck of Ark Restaurants made Chicken Dumplings with Hot Sesame Oil. Our own Chef Instructor Erica Wides, who has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia, gave a short demonstration on her dish of Braised Clay Pot Pork with Quail Eggs. ICE students also helped out at the event working alongside the chefs. All were happy to donate their time and energy to the cause.
Just a few months ago, ICE students and alumni visited the STREETS Restaurant Café for a cross-cultural cooking lesson with the program’s first graduating class. Since then all of the students in STREETS’ first class have been hired and are working in the industry at hotels, resorts and restaurants in the area. The next two classes of trainees have already started the program and fifty additional youth are now participating in STREETS’ programs.