40 works of art and two specialty hogs: that's what guests will have a chance to bid on in a silent auction Saturday to benefit a new venture in Detroit's Eastern Market neighborhood.
That inclusivity is a testament to the way food, art, job training, culture and pleasure intersect at Market Studio Kitchen, a small, experimental school founded by Leon Johnson. Johnson is an educator, artist and chef living in Eastern Market.
MSK teaches cooking and nutrition basics in a larger context that celebrates eating and examines the connectivity of our food system. In its first stage, the school has had its first three classes, three weeks each with 45 students total. MSK paired with North Oakland Vocational Association, an organization that provides skill building and job training programs to individuals with developmental disabilities.
"One of the first priorities when we started laying out the vision is that we would not prescribe a curriculum," Johnson said. "So for the last nine weeks we were learning from them, based on questions and [their existing] food narratives."
For many of them, using knives, preparing simple dishes and even buying food were new experiences.
"None of them recognized an avocado, or held a tomato," Johnson said. "One of the questions we got from [student] Cherelle Hasberry is, 'This what's on a McDonald's [sandwich]?'"
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