NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Students line up down the hallways to sign up for the F-Bites Culinary Program at LaSalle Prep in Niagara Falls. A program that teaches them skills in the kitchen and pays them for it.
“They will know how to look someone in the eye, firm handshake, pull their pants up, cell phones away and more importantly, they’ll be buying their own Air Jordans next year with their own money,” said Chef Bobby Anderson, Founder and CEO of F-Bites.
Chef Anderson has been cooking for more than 30 years. His skills in the kitchen have been featured on the show Hell’s Kitchen, but his proudest work is what he does with students in schools across WNY.
He's introduced barista programs to Niagara Falls High School students and his latest expansion is putting students in local restaurants.
They work as dishwashers, prep cooks, porters and more and get paid for it.
“I’m not doing it for the money, I just like doing it for fun,” explained Junior Hernandez, an 8th grader at LaSalle.
He helped make homemade chicken alfredo by cooking the noodles with his classmates. He says it's a great team environment.
“I think of it as a family. I call it the F-Bites family," said Hernandez.
Students in Niagara Falls are learning skills in the classroom and taking them to kitchens of local restaurants.— Taylor Epps (@taylor_epps_) November 10, 2021
The F-Bites working program is giving kids real experience and they're getting paid! @WKBW
FULL STORY: https://t.co/vdMslu9SUV pic.twitter.com/eaeThKSEaf
Arthur Pallilo, 13, also helped out with the noodles and says he turns to cooking before video games because of the program.
"I don’t mind getting paid, but at the same time, I do it to help me. Our chef, when he says this is our food to cook and I do good with it, helping him I feel proud of myself," said Pallilo.
Palillo says he’s considering a future in the restaurant industry…but no matter where these kids end up, Chef Anderson wants them to be ready.
And they’re seeing results, three F-Bites graduates are currently employed in kitchens in WNY . They are accepting donations so they can continue to expand, click here to donate.
You can check out the students' work at Cantina Falls at 310 Rainbow Boulevard and the F-Bites Coffee Kitchen at 616 Niagara St.