Celebrity chef, Curtis Aikens, joins the Compton YAL youth to introduce his new community program. The (ABC) program, headed by Chef Aikens, involves implementing an on-going, self-sustaining farm to table process enriched with wellness and life skills learning for youth living in under-served areas. The program will combine hands-on experience with a curriculum that highlights specific, but not immediately obvious behaviors and activities (such as responsibility, teamwork, communication) that affect the end result of the participants’ efforts. Other lessons, such as, the importance of personal and community wellness, education, good citizenship, and that service to others is a source of pride and joy will be included in the educational component of the program.
The Compton YAL will be the pilot site. The program will be designed and managed by celebrity chef Curtis Aikens, Sr. and Dr. Stuart Farber. Dr. Farber will be responsible for the educational component of the program. Chef Aikens will be responsible for the farming, food preparation, and food serving components. Additionally, Chef Aikens is an outstanding motivational speaker and will communicate the importance of literacy, self-motivation, and wellness directly to the participants and members of the greater community.
· Program Components:
· Preparing the Garden:
· Managing the Garden:
· Kitchen and food preparation skills training:
· Wellness and Service:
Bio Chef Curtis Aikens
Aikens is a celebrity chef, well known to TV audiences of the Food Network, Good Morning America, Oprah and Entertainment Tonight. He’s a college grad who learned to read at age 26 – after starting his own produce business. He’s written four books, still appears on TV and now travels and speaks to literacy groups and to student chefs to inspire them to greater things.
Curtis has appeared before the worldwide audience of CNN (where he fielded cooking questions “live” via international telephone). His other television credits include the Oprah show, Entertainment Tonight, The NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, as well as dozens of other local network affiliates.
NBC Nightly News did a feature story about Curtis’ own remarkable struggle with illiteracy, and his devotion to helping the thirty million American adults who are unable to read. ABC’s World News tonight featured Curtis Aikens’ participation in the First Annual Literacy Festival in Cairo, Georgia. As a literacy advocate, Curtis is a popular speaker at festivals and conferences throughout the country. He has been an invited guest at the White House, visiting President George Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, and has met with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Curtis is the author of Curtis Cooks with Heart and Soul, published by Hearst Books, as well as Garden Grocer’s Guide to the Harvest and Curtis Aikens’ Guide to the Harvest, both published by Peachtree Publishers. These popular books combine delicious down-home cooking with Curtis’ unique philosophy. He donates a portion of the royalties from these books to literacy programs across the country.
Curtis’ latest book, to be titled Recipes to Weight Loss and Its Control, was inspired by the fact that he has recently shed over fifty pounds, and will be available in the fall. Most recently, ABC Soup A Family and Friends Cookbook was published in December of 2015.
As a food consultant, Curtis Aikens has worked with The United States Open Tennis Tournament, The New York City Plaza Hotel, and The United Nations Cafeteria. Curtis supplied produce for the TV series In the Heat of the Night, and for the feature film Glory. He has been consultant and food stylist on commercials for Pizza Hut, Pillsbury and McDonalds.
As a chef, Curtis Aikens is in much demand as a celebrity guest of fine restaurants. His cooking, which blends his Southern upbringing with his subsequent California influence, also incorporate nuances gleaned from extensive travels in the US and Europe.
Chef Aikens earned a masters degree in Education Leadership from Dominican University.
Stuart Farber, Ph.D.
Dr. Farber is an Organizational Psychologist dedicated to serving not-for-profit, human service organizations (HSO). After spending more than 20 years working as a consultant, senior manager, and entrepreneur in the private sector, Dr. Farber now works solely in the not-for-profit sector. Dr. Farber’s work within the not-for- profit sector consists of teaching, conducting research, serving as a trustee/director and organizational consulting.
Dr. Farber maintains an organizational consulting practice. Nearly all of the consulting engagements are performed pro bono. Currently, Dr. Farber is working with education, faith based, specialty medical services, and essential service providers in underserved areas of Los Angeles County.
Dr. Farber’s research interests include organizational culture, moral entrepreneurship, and strategic behavior in small not-for-profit organizations.