November 18, 2015 – When renowned chef David Burke prepares a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch on Monday, Nov. 23, at 12 noon, his patrons will not be the usual patrons of his acclaimed restaurants but homeless men on Ward’s Island.  And his “line chefs” and “sous chefs” will not be graduates of the Culinary Institute of America or the French Culinary Institute but homeless men who are enrolled in the Culinary Arts Training Program run by HELP USA at the Supportive Employment Center on the island.

Indeed, Burke is teaming up with HELP USA and its Culinary Arts Training Program, led by noted chef Dan Maguire, to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal, albeit one with some of Burke’s legendary creativity, innovation, and flair — to showcase HELP USA’s holistic approach to homelessness prevention.

HELP USA, among the nation’s largest providers of housing and supportive services for the homeless, provides temporary and permanent housing and rental assistance, counseling, substance abuse treatment, education and mentoring, and job training and employment services – all designed to help the homeless regain their dignity and, more importantly, their independence.

The Culinary Arts Training Program is just one of the many rehabilitative support services offered to homeless individuals. The program, led by Chef Daniel Maguire, provides training and certification in professional cooking that propels students into an exciting and rewarding career in food service.

At the Nov. 23 Thanksgiving lunch, Burke will be working his magic in the kitchen, lending his skill and experience to the feast for hundreds. A number of the ingredients will be locally sourced from a multi-acre organic farm located on the Ward’s Island site. The onsite farm, a partnership with Project EATS, has a greenhouse, vegetable fields, composting operations, fruit orchard, and berry patches.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Chef Burke to give those living in our Ward’s Island shelter an authentic Thanksgiving experience,” said Maria Cuomo Cole, Chairman of the Board for HELP USA. “Having our trainees cook for their homeless peers will be a heart-warming sight and lift all of our spirits this holiday.”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to partake in this wonderful holiday event. Not only does it represent the spirit of the season but is also a great opportunity to share culinary experience with an incredible group of chefs,” said Burke. “I have no doubt I will learn just as much from the HELP USA Culinary students as they do from me.”

Trainees of the Culinary Arts Training Program will use skills and techniques taught to them by Chef Burke and Chef Maguire to create signature Thanksgiving dishes, from stuffing to pumpkin pie, and tickle the taste buds of hundreds of homeless individuals living on Ward’s Island.

 

About HELP USA

HELP USA is one of the nation’s largest providers of housing and supportive services for the homeless.  Through comprehensive programs and quality housing construction, HELP USA residents live with dignity in a safe environment.  Since its founding 29 years ago, the non-profit organization serves homeless populations including single adults, families, veterans, and victims of domestic violence.  More than 350,000 people have been served through its residences and programs.

HELP USA has developed $180 million of permanent and supportive housing, providing close to 6,000 units of permanent and transitional housing and invests over $8 million in veteran services across the nation.  Every year, HELP USA serves more than 20,000 people, which includes providing over 1,800 young people with mentoring, sports, and after school activities.

Additional supportive services offered by HELP USA include: employment training; veterans services; medical services; HIV/AIDS services; early childhood education; mental health services, and domestic violence counseling. For more information, please visit www.helpusa.org.

 

About Chef David Burke

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, chef David Burke’s 25-year career is decorated with honors that pay homage to his respected culinary skill, creative whimsy, and philanthropic efforts. From receiving the coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur during his time in France, to being inducted into the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation in May 2009, David Burke is continuously recognized as one of the leaders in the restaurant industry.

Burke has received critical-acclaim from both local and national press, in addition to creating a strong television presence – most notably including appearances on the second and fifth seasons of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”

In 2011, Burke received the ultimate honor presented to inventors: a United States patent. Awarded to him for the unique process by which he uses pink Himalayan salt to dry-age his steaks. Burke’s steaks can be dry-aged for anywhere from 28 to 55, 75, or even as long as 100 days using this process.  Burke has solidified a culinary reputation of parallels; an impressive base in French technique, paired with experimenting with interesting ingredients and innovative cooking techniques.

In Fall 2015, David Burke joined ESquared Hospitality to work as a culinary consultant on existing ESquared menus and to forge ahead with new and innovative concepts to grow the hospitality group into 2016.