Chef Space, Louisville Police Activity League Conclude Second Annual West End Youth Culinary Program with Bake-Off

Teaching life skills, developing positive relationships between police officers, youth, and the West End


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Krista Buckel

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (July 25, 2023) – Chef Space, a culinary incubator supported by Community Ventures, and Louisville Metro Police Activities League (PAL), today concluded its six-week culinary program for West End youth with a bake-off competition. This is Chef Space’s second year partnering with PAL to teach life skills, provide productive activities for at-risk youth, and develop positive relationships between police officers, youth, and the community.


The program was made possible by support from Kroger, Texas Roadhouse, and the Louisville Metro Police Foundation.


“Partnering with PAL is one way Chef Space is supporting our neighborhood of Russell,” said Tom Murro, President of Chef Space. “Pairing children, their parents, and police officers together for chef-led culinary classes allows us to teach life skills, feed the community, grow interest in cooking among Jefferson County children, and support PAL’s mission of developing trust between law enforcement and the community, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside PAL.”


After taking over as the Director of PAL, retired Sergeant Rick Polin approached Chef Space about starting a culinary program for youth in Louisville. Chef Space gladly jumped in and designed a program, created a curriculum, and provided staff while PAL gathered Jefferson County school students and officers to participate. PAL, which pairs officers and at-risk youth in Louisville, allows youth to develop interests and skills, explore career paths, and build positive relationships with law enforcement. This program with Chef Space is PAL’s first culinary-focused opportunity for youth.


“This program, designed and executed by Chef Space, arms youth in Louisville with valuable life skills that will serve them well into adulthood and allows youth and law enforcement to connect and build trust,” said Police Activities League Director Rick Polin. “These relationships make Louisville a safer city, and I am grateful for the support and investment Chef Space and Community Ventures are making in our community.”


This year, West End youth, families, and officers met at Chef Space to take six weeks of chef-led courses on meal preparation and share a meal. The 2023 culinary series concluded today with a bake-off where the teams of youth and officers compete against each other for awards and prizes. Judges for the competition include Interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, Chef Space member and Food Network celebrity chef Damaris Phillips, Texas Roadhouse Chef Josh Diekman, and Kroger Division Customer Communications Manager Sharon Welch.


Teams of law enforcement and youth will begin cooking in Chef Spaces’ commercial kitchen at 5:30 p.m., followed by judging at 7:00 p.m. An awards ceremony and celebration after judging is complete will conclude the 2023 culinary series.


To learn more about Chef Space, visit or contact Chef Space President Tom Murro at



About Chef Space: Chef Space, supported by non-profit Community Ventures, is Louisville’s first kitchen incubator dedicated to assisting emerging food industry entrepreneurs with the space, expertise, and capital necessary to launch their ideas. Since it opened the 13,000-square-foot facility in 2015, Chef Space has created 400 jobs, helped entrepreneurs launch over 65 food-related ventures, and graduated 12 businesses to brick-and-mortar locations in Louisville.


About Community Ventures: Founded in 1982 as a community-based, non-profit organization, Community Ventures (CV) strengthens communities and improves the overall quality of life for Kentuckians by supporting job creation, small business ownership, and home ownership. CV is headquartered in Lexington with branch locations in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Louisville, Mayfield, Millersburg, and Owensboro. For 21 consecutive years, CV has been named Microlender of the Year by the Kentucky Small Business Administration.