Chef Luke’s Giveback Challenge: Igniting Young Minds with the Art of Cooking

October 11, 2023

Chef Luke Simonds, Corporate Chef with Ignite, recently took on the Giveback Challenge by planning an incredible event with the Urban Leadership Foundation. The Giveback Challenge, issued by president and CEO Carl Kisner, allows Ignite employees $500 to make a tangible difference for an organization of their choice. The Urban Leadership Foundation is pivotal in transforming some of the most underserved communities in mega-cities, offering leadership training and revival strategies. Their children’s leadership program is especially noteworthy, making leadership accessible for children ages six to 18.

A unique aspect of this program is that to graduate, these children are tasked with organizing and executing a community event. With Chef Luke’s culinary skills and the kitchen provided by Ignite, 16 children from the program participated in a full day dedicated to the culinary arts.

Chef Luke Simonds
Give Back Challenge
The Urban Leadership Foundation

The kids were divided into four groups of four. Each team was paired with a chef, including Chef Luke and other chefs from local restaurants and catering companies. The groups received a mystery box full of ingredients using cauliflower as the main ingredient. Chef Luke helped the teams plan, organize, create invitations, and then start cooking. “Many of these kids have never cooked before,” he shared. “In fact, a lot of them didn’t know how to use a knife, so we worked on that and kitchen safety.”

Igniting Young Minds with the Art of Cooking

About 60 attendees attended the event, including parents, representatives from the Urban Leadership Foundation, and Ignite staff. A nutritionist also shared information about a healthy diet.

“This event was an overwhelming success,” said Carl Kisner. “Everyone agreed it is something we should do annually. Chef Luke’s idea perfectly captured the spirit of the Giveback Challenge, and we can’t wait for next year.”

Watch the video created by the Urban Leadership Foundation with interviews from the participants, Chef Luke, and the actual “Food Warz 2023”!

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