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Popular Restaurant Feeds Need For Job Opportunities

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- In a city that's a simmering culinary destination, restaurants find it harder to stand out.

"Everything we put out is scratch made," says Liam Luttrell-Rowland, the head chef at South Side Kitchen.

"Please let people know about who we are," he tells a packed dining room, which is located in the Edington Center at 133 Livingston Street.

Judging by the daily flood of customers at lunch time, this eatery's reputation is spreading fast.

"The food is excellent! This is restaurant quality food," says one customer. "And what I really enjoy besides the food is the community."

After nine months, South Side Kitchen is the talk of neighborhood.

"It's one of the hottest restaurants in this area," Chef Liam declares.

You could say it's business as usual, but profit is the last thing on their mind.

"Not only affordable," Liam explains. "But it's actually donation based so it's free for people who can't have any money."

They're teaching kitchen skills to folks who live in public housing or just need a chance to learn.

Green Opportunities and A-B Tech are partners in the job training effort.

"This is an interactive culinary classroom," Chef Liam explains. "So this is about food access. We're trying to get people to come out and enjoy the meals and learn about food with these students as they learn to prepare. "

Assistant chef Hanan Shabazz grew up in the South Side area. She's proud to feed a need in a place where fresh food can be a luxury.

"It means the world to me, my community matters," she says. "And this is my community."

Jeffrey is among the program's graduates. He recently got a kitchen job in the river arts district.

"I feel like it's an important program for the community," he says.

The success stories are part of the recipe that keeps customers coming back.

They're open for lunch in the Edington Center Monday through Thursday, from 12 to 1pm.

Starting next week, they plan on serving dinner on Thursdays.

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