Louisville Magazine

NOV 2016

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 11.16 127 those gardens, as federal dollars to that program have disappeared. Another reason Stevens created Common Table? Restaurants needed bodies. "We spoke to people in the food-service industry in town and we heard across the board that there was a real need for people who had a basic level of training but hadn't been to culinary school," she says. Mohammed, who is tall and broad-shoul- dered, bends over a trashcan and hurriedly peels cucumbers, peering up at the clock on the opposite wall. "Do you need me to help you do something?" Levitt, who worked for years in the Seelbach hotel's baking depart- ment, asks. "Get out of my way," Mohammed replies softly, smiling. Levitt, a short man with a well-groomed handlebar mustache, laughs as he walks away. At this point in the course, Levitt has taught his students all the fundamentals: knife cutting, sanita- tion, food storage and presentation. Now he supervises — "Sanitation rags must be in the water, folks!" — as they prepare food for a twice-weekly lunch service as well as special catering events. Standing over a spicy beef dish the students cooked the day before, he scoops excess sauce — a tomato-based concoction spiked with an Ethiopian spice blend called berbere — and nods toward Mohammed. He's impressed by her ability to delegate and remain calm under pressure. "It's like she's been doing it for years," he says. For many students, the cooking part isn't so hard. It's everything else — learning English, measurements, mastering credit-card swipes and explaining food and flavors. (In addition to ethnic foods students choose to prepare, Common Table has a rotating menu of staples, like chicken curry, chili and lasa- gna.) "Even for some of the students that we have with really great English skills," Stevens says, "we really work on that confidence so that they feel comfortable interacting (with customers)." Just after 11, a group of nearly a dozen pro- fessional-looking women step into the cafe. Levitt has Mohammed stand before them and introduce the dishes. "is is injera," she says, pointing to a bin full of the bread rolled up like tiny yoga mats before moving to the next tray. "is is eggplant. A majority of Ethiopian people eat this with rice." When she's done, food is scooped onto plates and Mohammed hustles back to the kitchen. "I'm proud of you," Alisia Richardson, a cheerful, outgoing fellow student, says to her. "Everybody together, we did it," Mohammed replies, smiling. She raises her right arm. "Look," she says in a near whisper. "Goosebumps." Make plans now to place your ad in the Spring/Summer issue of Louisville Bride. Louisville's Premier Bridal Publication. Publishing January 2017 Space reservation deadline: November 20th Call 625-0100 or email advertising@loumag.com Catch the opportunity while you can!

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