Bernson's Corner: Life's lessons in a kitchen
The Salvation Army has been busier than ever this year -- trying to help more people who've fallen on hard times. One Salvation Army staffer believes the recipe for success involves combining the right ingredients. And he's cooking up a storm in Bernson's Corner.
Chef Tim Tucker explains the art of flavoring poultry to his students. "The idea here is we're trying to get as much flavor into the turkey as possible, so we're also gonna go right inside the cavity -- then also underneath the skin as well."
Tucker is trying to get underneath the skin of his students. And build a fire under them -- a fire of the spirit. Tucker's students are in a ten-week class training to work in a restaurant kitchen.
"My students are below the poverty line and some of them are homeless. We're trying to do life transformation through food, the healing through food, doing it the way Grandma did," he says.
The thing is, Tim Tucker himself could work in any kitchen he wants. His experience until five years ago was in one of America's finest-dining restaurants -- preparing gourmet dishes at the famous Mansion at Turtle Creek in Dallas. So why a Salvation Army soup kitchen?
"You know, it's financial stuff isn't what excites me. Seeing someone's life transformed -- That's exciting!"
Tucker explains, "if you can get a living-wage job -- one that does require the skill level of making your own soups, you can get out into the work force and you can get out of the homeless shelter and have a career as opposed to a job."
Much of what's for dinner has been growing all summer long, as much produce as Tucker could plant in his tiny urban garden.
Tucker, like many chefs, believes in locally grown fruits and vegetables. And it doesn't get much more local than this: right across the alley from the kitchen. What Tucker's really growing here, though, is not so much produce -- but hope."
The flowers on the tables, the murals on the walls of the dining hall-he says, "The whole idea is trying to make this feel not like a homeless shelter, but like a nice restaurant." He says, "It's funny how life teaches you all of these things -- and then at some point throws you out to be the teacher."