Kendall College’s Spring Escape: The Taste for Seasoning

Chicago–The Jobs For Youth Junior Board from Kendall College hosted their 2nd annual fundraiser Thursday night–the Spring Escape–only this year with a new touch of “seasoning.” 

Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr.

 This time around, the Junior Board decided to bring in Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., from The Purple Pig restaurant, and have him perform a cooking demonstration amongst several contributors.

Jobs For Youth is an organization associated with Kendall College whose main focus is to help young adults prepare for college and getting a career.  “They obviously realized that getting a job is one thing,” School of Business Dean Michelle Coussens explains.  “But moving on and being able to have a career for some of those students is really where they need to head…So we developed a bridge program that…Jobs For Youth students come in and…spend 8 weeks taking a course.  If they complete the course, then they’re automatically accepted into the college.”

Event organizers tried something a little different this year, by adding a flavorful flare to the fundraiser.  This year’s Chair of the event, P.J. McGuire expressed the need to be different: “There’s so many young professional organizations and Junior Boards that do the typical ‘Happy Hour After Work.’  So we decided merging food and philanthropy together…Since Chicago is such a big foody city, we thought it’d be a great way to get young professionals out to do something a little different and unique.

Chef Bannos Jr. provided a personal cooking demonstration for VIP guests.  For the evening, he prepared Salt Roasted Beats with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachios, along with Milk Braised Pork Shoulder, which guests were offered to taste.

 Bannos Jr. immeadiately saw the need to step up to this opportunity: “I think in any event…it’s extremely important to give back…this is a very good cause, and it’s what we do,” said Bannos Jr.

 Director of Public Relations, Kristin Gudenrath helps run the special events, including The Spring Escape.  “[The main purpose of the event] is to raise awareness about the organization of Jobs For Youth and also to bring in funds,” Gudenrath comments.  “In addition to learning more about our wonderful organization, Jobs For Youth, they’re just going to have a really good time.”

 McGuire added that their goal for the evening was to raise about $40,000 and have an outcome of about 200-250 people.  Most of the funds raised go directly to the clients and working with job placement.

“We also as a Junior Board started a very unique initiative called ‘The Breakfast Club,'” McQuire adds.  “Because the kids we work with are disadvantaged, a lot of them had to decide between getting a CTA pass or eating breakfast.  And we realized that in order for them to truly get every morning they come in to Jobs For Youth.”

 In addition to a cooking demonstration, post-event activities included a Wine Pull, where visitors could buy a mystery bottle of wine for $20, which could value between $25-$100.  There also included raffle prizes where guests could win gift cards to The Purple Pig.

For more information on Kendall College, visit

 To take a further look at The Purple Pig’s menu, go to

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