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Friday cooking class for underprivileged kids returns to Canalside

A local chef’s culinary program for underprivileged kids is returning Friday to Canalside for the second year in that location.

Bobby Anderson, who competed on the show “Hell’s Kitchen” in 2008, will lead the F Bites program for the next six weeks. The program is designed for kids between the ages of 8 and 18 to expose them to culinary skills and other soft skills needed to be successful. It will take place from noon until 1 p.m. for the next six Fridays beside the Erie Canal terminus at Canalside.

The operation is run in partnership with the Buffalo Urban League, BOCES, the Police Athletic League and more, and is expected to draw more than 400 kids over the six weeks, Anderson said.

“We’re strictly working with underprivileged kids,” Anderson said. “Some have never seen the Canalside, some kids don’t even know it’s down there. Just to bring them down there is going to be a lesson in itself.”

In addition to the exposure the participants will get to the revamped waterfront area, Anderson said the kids will get to cook using high-end ingredients.

There will also be guest appearances from city leaders and former participants in the F Bites program to speak to the kids about potential opportunities in the culinary field and other areas.

Anderson said community reaction to the program, which ran for 12 weeks last year during its debut, has been positive and that has led to different organizations getting involved.

“Most hadn’t seen the program, but once they see the program they fall in love with it,” he said.

He added that the sponsorships and community involvement will help F Bites send 10 kids in the program to attend a culinary competition in New York City later in the year.