Four Atlanta Falcons players set aside their football helmets today to don an apron and chef’s toque and cook with the local community.
As part of a league-wide community day called Hometown Huddle, Falcons stars Mike Person, Ryan Schraeder, Philip Wheeler and Adrian Clayborn paired up with culinary students from Westside Works, a program that creates employment and job training for residents of Atlanta's Westside community .
The players and culinary students divided into teams, with a goal of making the best challah bread, to be judged by, among others, Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
The cook-off took place inside the Georgia Dome, in one of the kitchens that weekdays serves as training kitchen for the Westside Works culinary students.
“When Arthur Blank announced the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, he committed $15 million to community transformation in Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods,” said Alison Sawyer, spokesperson for the Arthur M. Blank Family of Business. “As a component of this commitment, we met with and listened to residents on what they needed most to change their lives for the better. Jobs was that thing that residents felt could change the trajectory of their lives and their families’ lives.”
Since its inception two and a half years ago, approximately 80 students have graduated from the eight-week culinary program and found employment within the food service industry. Westside Works also has training and living-wage job placement in the construction, nursing and IT fields.