After a long sabbatical, A Simple Path will resume serving lunch again this Friday when the reverse training soup kitchen opens back up to the public.
If you’ve never heard of a reverse training soup kitchen before, there’s a very good reason; it doesn’t really exist anywhere else. The concept originated in Director Kim Jagoe’s mind as a culmination of several years’ worth of experience working with the homeless community as Director of St. Benedict Homeless Shelter. After serving as director of St. Bens, Jagoe set out to start a day program for residents since St. Bens was only open at night. “I basically started A Simple Path to give the residents something to do during the day that would give them purpose,” Jagoe explained.
So… what is A Simple Path? Well, it starts by training members of the homeless community in culinary skills, nutrition, and sanitation so they can prepare and serve meals to the public. Customers come and eat, but instead of paying for a “bill,” they make a donation which goes straight back to the program.
Changing stereotypes about the homeless community is a great by-product of the meals. The students feel pride in what they’re doing, and the customers are blown away by the fact that the gourmet meal they just ate was prepared and served by shelter residents.
The suggested donation is $5, but most people leave more than that because the food is so good. The menu is gourmet, whole food, and mostly organic, using the freshest possible ingredients. The cooks at A Simple Path primarily buy from local farmers markets, but they also grow their own garden and then buy whatever else is needed fresh from the supermarket.
Jagoe says the road to A Simple Path lead her to step down as Director of St. Benedicts to enroll in the culinary arts program at Sullivan University in Louisville where she received her certification as a personal private chef with the intention of opening the reverse soup kitchen.
After she graduated, her plan was to take some time to rest and then figure out how to get the kitchen up and running. But instead, Keith Lawrence at the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer called and interviewed Kim just a few days after she completed the program. Kim was hesitant: “I didn’t really want him to do the article at first because I wanted to get some more things in order before it went public. But as it turned out, it was all in God’s plan because the day after the article ran I got a call offering us to use the kitchen at New Life Church.”
Newly hired Chef Dee Ward says Friday’s menu will include “black bean soup with chorizo, topped with cream, and chopped scallions. Served with a side of basmati rice, flavored with fresh thyme and lime. Grilled smoked grilled cheese sandwiches, on our in-house homemade bread. Gluten free chocolate chip, almond bites. Homemade guacamole and chips. Green tea, infused with citrus and ginger.”
The reverse soup kitchen is located in the basement of New Life Church at 400 Crabtree Avenue. Serving begins at 11am. For updates, check their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Simple-Path/130349010421835