Back2Basics Sober Living Residents Hit the Kitchen

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Back2Basic Sober Living culinary director, Kathy Arreola guides recovery residents through the second bi-annual, in-house cooking competition, putting what they've learned in the program to the test.

The winning team at the last B2B Cooking Competition, showing off their homemade crème Brule.

This competition is a test of team work, time management, and planning.

The 12 residents, two teams of six, who plan to participate in the cook-off, have been prepping for the past week. “We've already picked the team captains, have been researching different recipes we want to do and are working on planning out the full menu. Next week, we’ll do a full trial run,” said Weston, Back2Basics Culinary Intern.

As a resident, Weston participated in the last cooking competition that took place earlier this year. He has since graduated and is now interning with Arreola as her cooking intern. “I had never been introduced to culinary before Back2Basics. Cooking was something I looked forward to as a resident and now it’s something I look forward to making a career of. I’m thrilled to get experience helping Kathy run this competition.”

Residents have learned healthy kitchen skills such as proper hand and food washing, basic knife skills and breakfast, lunch and dinner menus – all catered toward getting clean.

Arreola is at the helm of all things food at the residential house, from daily menu planning to weekly culinary class. “I thought creating a cooking competition would be a fun way to challenge the residents,” said Arreola. “They will use the culinary skills they’ve learned here at Back2Basics and go beyond the regular cooking lessons that we do on a weekly basis. This competition is a test of team work, time management, and planning.”

Back2Basics long-term drug and alcohol treatment center incorporates basic life-skill building such as cooking, to help promote a healthy lifestyle not only during recovery, but also post-program.

Chase Christensen, Residential Supervisor was one of the five judges for the previous cooking competition. He critiqued the taste, color, texture and presentation of each three-course meal. “The food was amazing!” said Christensen. “The amount of work and pride that the guys put in to the competition was impressive. For someone to go from being worried about where their next meal was going to come from, to putting the finishing touches on a crème Brule and plating a roasted vegetable, chicken and rice pilaf meal is pretty special to see.”

Preparations will continue until the competition takes place. After the judges vote on their favorite meal, the winning team will get to celebrate at a local restaurant of their choice where they can sit back, relax and enjoy someone else’s cooking.

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Roy DuPrez
Back 2 Basics
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