Life’s Kitchen is a local nonprofit which not only gives second chances to kids between ages 16 to 20, but offers great food at a lower rate than most local diners.
Life’s Kitchen has been open for 10 years and trains at-risk youth both culinary arts and life skills.
They offer catering, a contract food business and café. There are roughly 50 kids per year who get on-the-job training. The café is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last year, Life’s Kitchen served roughly 103,000 meals out of their kitchen.
It can be a good place to interact with the trainees as they not only cook the meals but also work with customers. The café is going to be getting a face-lift soon where the trainees will also be serving the guests, so there is going to be more interaction.
Jeremy Maxand, executive director of Life’s Kitchen, explained what makes them unique.
“The interesting thing about us is our connection to Boise State,” Maxand said.
Life’s Kitchen is in a developmental area of Boise State. It is located right across the street from campus; Boise State owns most of the land that surrounds it. Life’s Kitchen has worked with a lot of Boise State students in the past through Service-Learning and the Social Work Department to come up with placement programs which will provide positive outcomes from trainees.
Boise State’s Business Department and Life’s Kitchen have been working hand in hand. Last semester MBA students did survey work investigating what the food industry needs here in Boise. They then compared Life’s Kitchen curriculum to see where they need to go.
Life’s Kitchen’s big project this semester was working with an executive MBA group to study financial sustainability within the café.
“The café is probably the least revenue generating part of what we do, but it’s the most important thing we do as far as our mission goes and the learning experience that the trainees have,” Maxand said. “It’s really were the public has an opportunity to experience the food, and more importantly to experience the program and interact with the trainees.”
Life’s Kitchen decided that the best way to generate revenue would be to spotlight the café and they chose to target Boise State students. Life’s Kitchen has decided to offer a $5 deal to Boise State students every day that the café is open.
“Buy a meal; change a life,” Maxand said, hoping more and more students will come try the café.