Youth wins big at pie contest.  Next stop culinary school!

Frankie came to Casa Pacifica’s Transitional Youth Services (TYS) program in April after bouncing between shelters, foster homes, and group homes. His goals were to get his high school diploma and work towards getting into a culinary school. 

Dr. Anna Guerin, TYS Clinical Program Manager came to Frankie with an opportunity. “I think you should enter the Malibu Pie Festival.” With a little coaxing and encouragement, Frankie agreed.

Lisa Sparrow, TYS Administrative Assistant offered to help Frankie with his new pie venture. She came in on a Saturday and they baked two test pies – one apple and one mixed berry. After much deliberation, Frankie decided to go with the mixed berry pie.

“I baked several pies by myself at the house, they turned out ok, I burnt one,” Frankie laughed.

The day before the big contest Frankie started baking his mixed berry pie with big dreams of getting the grand prize. “I kinda made a mistake…I was supposed to put a pinch of salt and I wound up doing a tablespoon of salt,” Frankie recalled.

In Lisa’s words, “I was so upset but didn’t want to show it, I was so worried the pie would taste bad. So, I just said it was ok and suggested Frankie put a ton of extra berries and sugar,” Lisa laughed recalling the moment of panic.

The Festival was packed, dozens of pies in different categories were set to be judged. In Frankie’s category, ages 14-18, there were ten pies. Lisa’s heart sank, some of them looked really good. When the results were finally in, they sat, anxiously waiting to hear Frankie’s name. “When they called third place I was disappointed, I was hoping we at least had a chance at that,” admitted Lisa. Second place was called and Lisa let out an audible sigh.

 

Then first place was called: “Frankie and the mixed berry pie!”

Frankie and Lisa celebrate Frankie’s big win.

Frankie is now looking for another contest to enter and has other big plans for the future. “I’m kind of tired of pies, seasonal cakes are next on my list, maybe a spice cake.”

“My dream culinary school would be Culinary Institute of America in New York. I’m applying to the California Conservation Corps, they have an excellent culinary program and if you do 1-3 years with them they’ll recommend you to any culinary school in the country. I can finish my high school diploma and get culinary experience there.”

The main goal of our TYS program is to help and prepare the youth to transition to successful adulthood. With your help, we can continue providing unique opportunities, individualized to each youth like Frankie.

Photo courtesy Malibu Pie Festival Congratulations, Frankie!  

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