In recent months, the City of Philadelphia has been inundated with random acts of violence, a record number of shootings and to hear the leaders talk, there was very little glimmer of hope anywhere.
I come to challenge that notion by highlighting young men who are thriving among us and are creating a pathway of social justice and peace wherever they go.
Ahmad Mitchell is a quiet, calm and reserved 19-year-old student at the Community College of Philadelphia who is smart and a budding thought leader to be watched. He began with an interest in food and the sustainability of our environment. He then went on to Job Corps, studied culinary arts, and did so well that he was offered a scholarship at CCP, where he is studying for an associate’s degree in culinary arts.
Mitchell was recently hired as the pastry chef/line cook at the Spice Finch restaurant in Rittenhouse Square — a place that holds its employees to a higher standard, and is coveted as a restaurant to work for because of its attention to detail and personalized customer service.
He was not deterred by this distinction, and applied to the restaurant online. When Mitchell arrived for his interview, they immediately tested his skills for four hours, then offered him the coveted position on the spot!
When asked what propelled him to get into the culinary arts, he immediately began speaking of being in the kitchen with his mother, grandmother and aunts during the holidays. It was there he began developing his love for creating unique recipes for the senses and soul. It is interesting to note that he was born on Thanksgiving Day, so the holidays are special to him.
He was 18 when he decided to make a career of it, and imparted that his grandmom’s signature eggplant parmesan, along with his famous pear and apple pie, are two of his signature dishes.
Ahmad’s father, Scott Mitchell, beamed proudly during the interview as he described raising his children in North Philadelphia with excellent results. Ahmad’s sister, Ayanna, is a recent Cum Laude graduate of Howard University, and it is evident that based on the three generations around her and Ahmad, they had no choice but to succeed.
Mitchell is also concerned about food insecurity in his community, and spoke of a community garden that serves the needs of those in his community.
This young man, and his entire family, are wonderful examples of the gifts among us, and are to be lauded for being the motivation to achieve and the inspiration to grow!
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