By Patricia Andrews-Keenan
Students from The Bella Cuisine Kids Cooking Club (BCKCC), a CPS after school program focused on the benefits of healthy eating, will join with Chicago Police Officers to host their very own pop-up restaurant at Wrightwood the Chicago International Charter School. The event will be held Saturday, January 23 from noon – 2:00 at the school located at 8130 S. California.
Cooking with Cops
is an innovative program that pairs Chicago Police Officers with at-risk youth in an effort to positively change the culture and create positive interactions among young people and police. BCKCC believes this coming together in a safe, relaxed, fun environment is the first step in changing the belief that police are the enemy.
“The Bella Cuisine Kids Cooking Club prides itself on promoting healthy eating in under-served areas of Chicago,” says BCKCC founder Latrice McArthur. However, we would be remiss to ignore the bigger issue of violence facing our youth living in these areas. To respond to the pressing needs of these communities we’ve incorporated “Cooking with Cops” into our after-school programming.”
CPD officers and students in the Bella Cuisine program have been working together this school year on creating healthy menus, shopping together for ingredients and practicing recipes. That work will culminate in the Cooking with Cops pop-up restaurant on January 23.
Spearheading the CPD team has been Sgt. Randi O’Carroll of Police District 008. “Connecting with people over food provides an opportunity to break down barriers and create relationships that might not otherwise develop,” said O’Connell. This has been a wonderful experience for our officers and the kids.”
There will be a panel of celebrity judges critiquing the ‘pop-up’ restaurant and raffle prizes for guest. Also participating will be members of the Police Athletics League “Stomping Out Drugs” and trainers from the CPD Education and Training Division. Tickets for the event are $40 and can be purchased by visiting
About Bella Cuisine Kids Cooking Club
BCKCC was founded seven years ago to demonstrate to youth the benefits of healthy eating. Today BCKCC engages nearly 500 students, ages 8 – 15 in schools on Chicago’s South and West sides and the program has been recognized as part of Chicago City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza’s “Culinary Kids Initiative”. Our message is simple, make healthy eating a part of your daily life and encourage families to cook together and cook from scratch.