Denise Daniels is the Culinary Director at BGCB’s Edergley Family South Boston Club.
Please tell us a little about your background and what brought you to BGCB.
I was at a crossroads in my career as a chef when I stumbled onto the opportunity at BGCB. After several years of pursuing wonderful opportunities in restaurants, hotels, catering, and teaching culinary arts, I desired a place where I could utilize what I learned and hopefully make a difference. Although that might sound cheesy, for me it was a defining moment where I could see the connection between my college studies in Social Work and cooking come together.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of this job has been working with Junior Staff. I had the opportunity to witness several members hone their cooking abilities and learn to develop fundamental leadership skills.
What do you like about being employed by BGCB?
I really enjoy the people I get to meet from other Clubs and work with on a daily basis. I appreciate that BGCB has put tremendous emphasis on professional growth by offering scholarship opportunities to full-time staff for higher education, conferences or seminars.
What are you looking forward to this year, and what are some of your favorite parts of your job?
I’m looking forward to having our kids involved in sharing their menu ideas for the upcoming school year and possibly having them help prepare a version of it with the kitchen team for their peers.
How do you describe your job to friends and family?
I simply tell them, call me #Teamlunchlady! My thorough explanation – I plan and develop kid-friendly menus with the culinary team and produce meals for 130-200 kids. The focus is on nutritious meals (snack/lunch/dinner) that are made from scratch whenever possible and with fresh ingredients.
What are some of the professional development opportunities you have had working with BGCB?
I’ve had a plethora of opportunities with BGCB for professional development. Some of those include: Healthy Minds/Eating Conference for School Nutrition, Women Chef’s conference with a focus on leadership and various seminars/training centered on youth social and emotional development.
What are the main Culinary activities and programming?
The heart of this position is making and feeding nutritious snacks and meals (dinner/lunch) for our kids. Recent grants and community partnerships have allowed our club to extend the teaching aspect to our members with small, informal cooking classes and presentations.
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is to help young people, especially those who need us most, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. We do this by providing a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs.