Atiim “Tee” Smith is now one of the promising young cooks at one of the city’s better restaurants, Cucina Enoteca. He started his kitchen career a few years ago at Water Grill, also worked at Jake’s Del Mar. It’s quite a positive development because, in 2014, he was facing 64 years to life in prison.
Smith turned his own life around, a success of his own design. But he had some help from one of the more inspiring organizations in San Diego—Kitchens for Good. KFG is a nonprofit that essentially provides a free culinary school for people who need a second shot for a variety of reasons. Their apprenticeship program offers technical skills, some life coaching, career counseling, a network of support. Their “Hunger Relief” program prepares over 100,000 healthy-side meals every year to help San Diego families, seniors, and anyone facing food insecurity.
Both Tee Smith and KFG director of programs Dennis Crosby join us on this episode of “Happy Half Hour” to talk about Tee’s personal evolution and how Kitchens for Good has managed to make an impact. The segment is just in time for the opening of their new store in Pacific Beach. There, they sell top of the line kitchenware that’s already been cooked with but lightly used, so it’s affordable for cooks on a budget.
In “Hot Plates,” we talk about the pop-up LEGO bar coming to San Diego for a few days only (you can book your tickets here). The space in North Park where the beloved Tiger! Tiger! Recently closed is getting a new location for Sushi 2. Verbena Kitchen in North Park is putting on a special dinner as a fundraiser for neighbors who had a devastating fire. The team behind Kettner Exchange and Camino Riviera and Grass Skirt—which includes damn good chef Brian Redzikowski and top bar man Eric Johnson—is bringing a new 19th century pirate bar (OK, it’s just old-school nautical but in our book that means pirates) with a gin focus. After a wildly successful run and acquisition by AB-InBev, Saint Archer has been discontinued and removed from retail shelves.
In “Two People, 50 Bucks,” Troy raves about the shawarma egg rolls at South Park food truck, Shawarma Guys. David ate his way through the menu at Wormwood and can’t stop talking about it, Dennis gives the worst performance in the history of “Two People, Fifty Bucks,” and Tee tells us what his favorite dishes to order at Cucina Enoteca.
Thank you for listening! As always, we want to hear from our listeners. Need a restaurant recommendation? Is there a guest you want us to book on the show? Let us know! You can call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a voicemail, or if you’re too shy, you can email us at [email protected]. See you next week!