Shah Family Foundation revamps Salesian Boys & Girls Club kitchen

For the past few years the Shah Family Foundation (SFF) has been helping East Boston schools outfit their cafeterias with new kitchen equipment in order to prepare fresh-cooked meals for students as part of the ‘My Way Cafe’ initiative.
Now the SFF has switched gears from school kitchens to helping one of Eastie’s most-renowned youth programs.
The SFF recently outfitted the Salesian Boys & Girls Club’s kitchen on Byron Street with Welbilt ‘combi-ovens’ that can not only reheat, but also cook and steam fresh foods.
“We are incredibly grateful to Jill Shah of the Shah Family Foundation and the wonderful staff for choosing our Club and making this project a reality,” said Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Mike Triant. “Their genuine concern for the nutrition and health needs of the young people at our Club and throughout the community has enabled us to expand our food program and provide more choices of healthy and delicious meals for our members.”
Triant said the Boys & Girls Club serves more than 130 meals at the club each day. The new kitchen will allow the Salesian to prepare hot, freshly cooked meals that will be prepared daily by Cunard’s Executive Chef Anthony Pino.
Last Thursday the Boys & Girls Club held a community open house to introduce club members, families and supporters to the new kitchen. Chef Pino was on hand cooking up a storm and giving everyone a taste of what can be expected at the club each day.
“It was great to have our families and friends come by and sample Anthony Pino’s delicious pasta dinners,” said Triant. “We’re happy to welcome Anthony (Pino) back as the club’s chef. Anthony, the executive chef at Cunard Tavern, was a Club kid and staff member while attending Savio Prep and Johnson & Wales University. He’s brought his amazing talent back home and our kids are the winners.”
Assisting Chef Pino in the kitchen last week were Brother Bob Metell and Auray Pereira.
Pino said he will go to the club each day before heading to his regular gig at the Cunard at 4 p.m. Pino will prepare all the food for the day and Salesian staff will simply use the new kitchen equipment provided by the SFF to reheat and serve the meals once the club is open.
“Looks like I picked up a second job making healthy meals for kids at the Boys and Girls Club,” said Pino. “I grew up going to and working at the Salesian in high school and college. It’s pretty cool being back in the building a few hours a day and seeing the smiles on the kids faces again.”
Pino said the meals, like the ones he prepared the other night, will be hot, fresh and a big improvement to some of the food options in the past.
The SFF has been responsible for revamping school kitchens at East Boston High School, Samuel Adams Elementary School, Dante Alighieri Montessori School, Curtis Guild Elementary School, Donald McKay K-8 School, Hugh R. O’Donnell Elementary School, James Otis Elementary School, Mario Umana Academy, Manassah E. Bradley Elementary School, East Boston Early Education Center and Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School.
These schools were part of the successful ‘My Way Cafe’ pilot program that utilizes a Hub and Spoke kitchen model. The Hub and Spoke model utilizes schools with already-constructed in-service kitchens to prep food for nearby schools that do not have such kitchens. In addition, schools that did not have in-service kitchens were retrofitted with hybrid-model kitchens to cook and serve food on-site for students.

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