By Robin Abcarian, Aug 30, 2019, for LA Times
On a hot summer afternoon, the spacious kitchen of Pasadena’s First United Methodist Church was bustling. Culinary students and their chef-teachers were chopping basil, crushing watermelon, and laying slices of rustic bread on baking sheets.
The students — in their late teens and early to mid-20s — were in high spirits. It was Saturday, and they were preparing a five-course meal for dozens of lucky guests, who would gather for dinner in the church’s courtyard on Sunday.
Under the supervision of professional chefs who had volunteered their time, the young cooks would stuff mushroom caps, marinate carrots for a vegetarian ceviche, slow roast tomatoes for rigatoni, make arugula shallot chimichurri for grilled flat iron steak and whip up a dessert of brown sugar blackberry upside down baby cakes.