Every day after school, hundreds of kids head to Downtown Boxing Gym on Detroit’s east side to shoot some hoops, get help with their homework or hit the boxing ring. They’re also having fun in the organization’s new commercial kitchen making nutritious meals with a well-known Detroit chef.   

Molly Mitchell, the former owner of Detroit diner Rose’s Fine Food, became Downtown Boxing Gym’s associate director of culinary arts in January. Mitchell’s role includes preparing fresh meals and snacks for students each night, totaling more than 1,000 meals per week. 

Detroit chef Molly Mitchell cooks at the Downtown Boxing Gym

Detroit chef and Downtown Boxing Gym Associate Director of Culinary Arts Molly Mitchell prepares meals for students to take home to their families. | Photo by One Detroit

She’s also developing a culinary arts curriculum by teaching basic cooking skills and healthy meals that kids can make at home. The nonprofit offers free academic and athletic programs, electives and mentorship to youth ages 8-18, with continuing mentorship and support through 25. 

RELATED: Detroit Food Academy cooks up the next generation of young leaders through food education

“My goal is to build out a program that is not only really informative, that if someone wanted to go get a job in a restaurant, they could after taking this program,” Mitchell said. “But really, I’m just trying to cement an excitement for food that can be a lifelong passion, whether you’re working in a restaurant or you just like learning how to cook amazing meals for yourself and your loved ones.”  

BridgeDetroit’s Micah Walker and One Detroit’s Chris Jordan stopped by the Downtown Boxing Gym to watch Mitchell teach students some new skills in the kitchen. Plus, Walker talked with Mitchell and Downtown Boxing Gym founder and CEO Khali Sweeney about the program and how it fits into the gym’s larger mission. 

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