Local program looks to connect at-risk children with acclaimed restaurants, introduce them to culinary arts

(Photo courtesy of Homemade Hope)

A local program is working to help introduce at-risk youth to the culinary arts!


It's called Restaurant U, and based on a press release, it's a Houston program meant to serve at-risk youth and introduce them to world-class eateries through a series of immersive field trips. 

The program is dually run by The Greater Houston Area Restaurant Association and Homemade Hope, a local non-profit founded in 2014 that helps children living in Houston shelters through a variety of programming.  

"Houston is the greatest food city in the world, and anyone can be part of it," said Cameron James, President of the Greater Houston Texas Restaurant Association. "Our restaurant community is so excited about the opportunity to connect with young people through mouth-watering food, mentorship, and interactive experiences that don’t just illustrate the professional opportunities that exist for them in our industry, but actually put them on the paths to seize them." 

The program is designed to take vulnerable children in Houston from 4-18 years old to different restaurants where they’ll get to eat food and learn from chefs, owners, and service team members. 

(Photo courtesy of Homemade Hope)

Every two weeks this summer, participants of Restaurant U will have the opportunity to visit a different restaurant, kicking off with award-winning Gatlin’s BBQ. 

"We believe in the power of food," said Blair Bentley, Homemade Hope Executive Director."For so many of the children Homemade Hope serves, food can be a source of uncertainty. These children live in food deserts and don’t get adequate nutrition."

Participating children will get to learn life and culinary skills, explore new foods, practice restaurant etiquette, and discover potential career opportunities while experiencing the diversity that the Houston restaurant industry has to offer. 

"We want to show them how food can not only nourish their bodies and souls but also can bring people together. Learning about the culinary world and restaurant business can empower these children in tremendous ways," Bentley added.

The program events will be facilitated by teachers, transportation, and immersive activities, ultimately building community with each other and with participating restaurants. 


To contact the non-profit organization, visit homemade.org