Serving Youth in Oakland

We recently spent some time creating a new video to promote our mission here at The Town Kitchen. We’ve pulled a few excerpts from the interviews with our founder Jefferson Sevilla, as well as a few quotes from our youth staff. Jefferson spends some time discussing how his vision for the company has evolved over the years. Our youth staff have an opportunity to share how The Town Kitchen has impacted their lives.

Q: Why did you start The Town Kitchen?

Jefferson: “With the Town Kitchen it was important for me to establish a company where we are building something for the greater good and we are bringing and helping people along the way by also teaching them new things about the food industry, where their food comes from, teaching them food justice as well as to appreciate everything that's being put in front of them. Experiencing a lot of these environments have allowed me to pass down some information that I feel is vital and important for young people to learn.”

Q: What’s the most important thing you do at The Town Kitchen?
Jefferson: ”One of the most important things I also think important of what the Town Kitchen does is we provide a life skill or we provide training for a life skill. Food or cooking in general is something that brings all cultures and lives together and it's something that speaks unanimously and for the positive and I think what a lot of young people have a lack of experience or knowledge of is where their food comes from, how to prepare food from its raw state, just how cultures intertwine together based on the food of their countries.”

Q: What made you want to join The Town Kitchen?

Tristan: “I joined the Town Kitchen primarily based off of their message which was taking in reentry youth and foster youth and wanting to give back to the community, giving them opportunities from really no experience and just having the workspace to grow and accept whatever mistakes or hiccups you have along the way acknowledging that, I messed up or I could have done better in a way that's progressive and meant to improve myself but also acknowledge I have a opportunity to grow at this company without feeling like I'm under attack or just being berated if it was some other company because you don't really get that experience that's, "I'm looking out for you, making sure you're performing at your best", but also acknowledging when you mess up. How can we improve, how can we grow from this and make sure it doesn't happen again? You don't get that with a lot of companies because some companies are just in it to make money.”

Q: What’s it like being able to work at a company like this in your hometown?

Edna: Edna: “Being here in Oakland I think it really has distinguished what it really means to be from here. When I get asked this question many times I get a stereotype directed towards me simply because they know of what's going on in the news, politically, and just different things that go on here in terms of violence here in the city of Oakland. I think when I present to them what company that I am part of, just simply saying that I'm from the Town Kitchen, I start to say what this company's about and I think it really brings a different type of image to what we're trying to construct and the type of impact that we're doing to not only for now, but also in the long term.”

We continue to strive to introduce our youth to opportunities within the organization as well as without. With help from our partners we’re able to expand the networks of all TTK staff to help them grow in their personal and professional lives.