Nonprofit Sees Olive Oil Culture As a Way to Help Troubled Youths

My City Kitchen, a nonprofit organization focused on at-risk and low-income children, teens and families, cooperates with Enotre, a producer of extra virgin olive oil from Calabria.

Photo by Kendal Royer of Lou Jones Photography
May. 30, 2017
By Ylenia Granitto
Photo by Kendal Royer of Lou Jones Photography

Recent News

Our extra vir­gin olive oil Enotre is a blend of Carolea and Nocellara Messinese from plants grown at an alti­tude of 600 meters in the shade of Sila moun­tains, in olive groves belonged to my father,” said Pietro Polizzi, adding that they usu­ally carry out the har­vest in early October to get the best out of these vari­eties. Even though, I obtained great prod­uct also by har­vest­ing in early November,” he pointed out.

I was happy and excited like a kid in a candy shop to be part of this amaz­ing process. I saw a way to help sup­port the My City Kitchen pro­gram.- Kashia Diaz Cave, My City Kitchen

Enotre’s notes of cut grass and tomato intrigued the chef and exec­u­tive direc­tor of Connecticut-based My City Kitchen (MCK), Kashia Diaz Cave, who met Polizzi through a mutual friend dur­ing a work­ing visit in Italy.

When I got con­nected with Pietro, I was drawn by his pas­sion for his work with extra vir­gin olive oil,” Diaz Cave told Olive Oil Times. I asked him many ques­tions about his activ­ity and he answered all of them.” She felt the desire to dis­cover more about the pro­duc­tion of liq­uid gold: As a trained chef, she wanted to learn why it was con­sid­ered a supe­rior oil, and since her fam­ily has a his­tory of dia­betes and high blood pres­sure and she heard it may reduce the dis­ease risks, she wanted to expe­ri­ence its healthy aspects and all its other uses from food to beauty.

Kashia Diaz Cave (Kendal Royer of Lou Jones Photography)

Most impor­tantly, she was inter­ested in extra vir­gin olive oil as founder and chef at My City Kitchen, a not for profit orga­ni­za­tion that focuses on teach­ing at-risk and low-income chil­dren, teens and fam­i­lies how to cook healthy meals, under­stand­ing food pro­duc­tion and how to pre­pare it on a bud­get, thanks to sim­ple life skills and basic food edu­ca­tion.

First, I wanted to expe­ri­ence for myself every step of pro­duc­tion,” said Diaz Cave. So she got on a plane and flew to Calabria with her friend Andrea De Silva, a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher, where Polizzi took them to their olive groves.

To tell our story is the best way to bring peo­ple closer to extra vir­gin olive oil,” said Polizzi. We bring them to our beau­ti­ful but steep olive groves and we har­vest by hand. This shows our pas­sion, and this is prob­a­bly what impressed Kashia when she chose to work with us.”

Diaz Cave admit­ted that she never real­ized how much labor goes into har­vest­ing the olives. Understanding the impor­tance of pick­ing, stor­ing to press­ing, what pure unfil­tered olive oil looks, smells and tastes like, it blew my mind. I was happy and excited like a kid in a candy shop to be part of this amaz­ing process.”

by Andrea De Silva

During that visit, many projects emerged: To give her teen stu­dents the oppor­tu­nity to travel to Calabria and par­tic­i­pate in the har­vest as part of an edu­ca­tional pro­gram through My City Kitchen; to cre­ate a travel group to allow friends and fam­ily to expe­ri­ence the har­vest while vis­it­ing Italy; to col­lab­o­rate with the Polizzi fam­ily to pro­mote and sell their Enotre oil at MCK Gourmet Café, that recently opened.

I saw a way to help sup­port the My City Kitchen pro­gram,” Diaz Cave affirmed since an impor­tant part of My City Kitchen is edu­cat­ing stu­dents of a farm to table con­cept, work­ing with farm­ers, vis­it­ing local farms in the state, and giv­ing them an under­stand­ing of food pro­duc­tion.

Lives have changed for the bet­ter through MCK cook­ing pro­grams, like Alex who, at 14, was in trou­ble with the law. His pro­ba­tion offi­cer con­nected him with MCK as part of an edu­ca­tion and job readi­ness pro­gram. First, Alex wasn’t really excited about cook­ing, but Diaz Cave changed his out­look and three years later he is one of her best vol­un­teers.

My pas­sion is to help our inner city youth reach their full poten­tial, and if I can use my cook­ing to help, then that’s what I will do,” said Diaz Cave. Everyone deserve a chance for a brighter future.”


Related News

Feedback / Suggestions