When you send your kid away to summer camp, they will probably remember it as a time to let loose and have fun. They will run, play, laugh and make some new friends.
What about trying out diverse foods from different cultures?
Enter Chef Edward Evans, a Baltimore native and a 20-year culinary veteran with a passion for giving back to the community. His latest culinary venture was to partner with Live! Casino & Hotel and give more than 100 Baltimore area campers a culinary experience they won’t soon forget.
Evans’ appeared on the Food Networks’ CHOPPED last month, where he expressed his desire to use his potential grand prize money to provide kids in underserved communities an opportunity to experience different global cultures through cuisine.
Even though he fell short of his goal, Live! still donated $10,000 to the Y in Central Maryland to make that dream a reality.
“As one door closes, another opens,” Evans says. “The Live! Casino Hotel said to me you are a winner in our hearts, so we are still going to allow you to live your dream, which is to expose children to different cultures through food.”
Recently campers and culinary students from Forest Park Community School, The Y of Druid Hill, New Horizons Camp for Homeless Youth in Baltimore City and The Y of Anne Arundel County tried dishes from Jamaica, Mexico, Japan, China, Puerto Rico, Italy and France.
“It’s difficult to get a group of children around the world on a plane. But we can take them around the world on a plate,” he says. “So, this event is an opportunity for them to travel the world with their pallets and to expose them to the world as we see it through food.”
EJ Amyot, district executive director of the Y in Central Maryland, attended the lunch to recognize Evans and Live! Casino & Hotel’s dedication and commitment to supporting local communities.
“I know he has been planning this for quite some time, and we are excited to finally be here and have it come to fruition,” Amyot says. “This event, it’s beneficial because it’s something that is outside of what kids typically would experience in a camp setting or at home. And, sometimes, these kids are siloed to a specific area where they live, and they don’t often get together. So bringing them together to connect, I think that is really important.”
Some of the dishes included char sui bao, a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun from China, assorted sushi rolls from Japan, chicken tostadas from Mexico, jerk chicken from Jamaica and mini French pastries from France, among other culinary favorites. Kids even had the chance to sit down and chat with the cooks in real time.
“Not only do they get to eat the food, but they get to interact with the chefs, learn their language, talk with them and embrace their culture. It’s a pretty awesome and unique opportunity,” Evans says. “We are breaking bread together. That is my way of saying you are family to me and they understand that. And, it’s all through food.”