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Patricia Sujballi was fantasizing about the idea of becoming a professional chef. But that wasn't exactly a viable option for the mother of three, who was also caring for an ailing grandma. Sujballi didn't even have a high school degree, for starters.
And one semester of tuition at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America sets you back $14,690.
But then, she learned about a free culinary education program that had started in her Boston neighborhood in 2014. It was funded by the Salvation Army and it was created and run by chef Timothy Tucker. Each 10-week course has just 12 students, and all trainees are interviewed and hand-picked by Tucker and his team.
The Culinary Arts Training Program, which serves the Dorchester/Roxbury community, teaches kitchen essentials like knife skills and safety standards. The program's community partnerships help place grads with with local chefs and as of 2015, 60 people had graduated from it.
"That's the thing with this program, it's teaching you how to cook, but it's teaching you what to do after you leave here. It's teaching you how to show up to work on time and when you get a job, how to listen to what the head chef wants and do it exactly how they say to do it. And so it was prepping us for the work field," Sujballi tells Megyn Kelly Today.
Best of all, she took what she learned and put it to use, opening her own business, Epic Gourmet Boston. "Now I'm a chef," she says.
You can download an application and learn more about this program. Meanwhile, enjoy these recipes from Tucker's program, to whet your appetite.
Crispy chicken and juicy peppers? Yes please.
This dessert is a playful blend of bitter and sweet.