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Star chef works with Bayview youth

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Iranian-born restaurateur and caterer Faz Poursohi has partnered with the Bayview YMCA to provide students the tools they need to succeed as entrepreneurs and food industry professionals.

A new program at the Bayview YMCA is taking advantage of a recently installed institutional kitchen at the site on Lane and Revere. Primed and Prepped: A Hospitality Management/ Culinary Arts Mentoring and Job Training Program will give young men of color, ages 15 through 17, an up close and personal look at the restaurant industry.

The program founder and director is Kelly Armstrong. Kelly reached out to Faz, a longtime friend, when she began creating the Primed and Prepped program. It was a fruitful call.

"I had no clue of what pots and pans and other supplies we would need," Kelly said recently. "But I knew who did. Not only did [Faz] make sure we got the top-of-the-line equipment, he hired one of our youth to work in his Oakland location."

Faz was excited by the opportunity to help young people advance in the workforce, something he has extraordinary personal experience with. His first job was as a dishwasher. Now he owns restaurants in Oakland, Danville, Sunnyvale, Pleasanton and Palo Alto. Another restaurant is due to open soon in Santa Clara.

As a child, Faz worked at his father's Tehran restaurant and on the family farm. That instilled in him the importance of using only the freshest ingredients in homemade items.

The use of fresh ingredients is important to Gina Fromer, District Vice President and Executive Director of the Bayview YMCA.

"The new Community Learning Kitchen will be hosting a wide range of programs geared toward overall wellness," Gina said. "For example, emphasizing healthier habits, exploring cultural traditions, and bringing families together through such special events as movie nights, a jazz-and-blues club night, and other activities that help strengthen connections and build community."

Special Notice: Jack Bair, SF Giants VP and BVHP YMCA Board member, will be watching the Ravens V. Lions game at Mission Rock Resort on Monday, December 16th from 5:30 to 9:30pm. A live auction will be held at halftime.

Mission Rock Resort is located at 817 Terry A. Francois Blvd. Event tickets start at $25 and are available online. All proceeds benefit the BVHP YMCA. For more information, call Janet Allen-Williams at 822.7728 x263.

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