CLEVELAND — Chef Pauli Kala said he comes into this kitchen twice a month, excited to share his cooking and culture with his community.
Kala is the head chef for the Baba’s Yard Hot Meal program. The program prepares and distributes 100% plant based meals to underserved communities.
It serves up to 80 people two times per month. The food prepared is not only 100% plant based, but it’s also 100% authentic Indian cuisine.
Kala said he cooks various recipes using ingredients and spices that he grew up eating and serving at an Indian restaurant his family owned in North Olmsted.
“I knew I could cook,” Kala said. “There was a limited amount of Indian food in this country, so I knew that. The more the merrier.”
John Visnauskas is the founder of Baba’s Yard and the Hot Meal Program.
The organization has given away more than 200 tons of produce to people with limited incomes in partnership with Greater Cleveland Food Bank. He said the recently launched Hot Meal Program gives clients examples of all that can be done with that produce.
He said the program continues to impress clients and he owes much of his success to Kala.
“We’ve got an awesome chef, and we offer awesome food,” Visnauskas said. “I couldn’t imagine what a family of five would pay to get this at one of Cleveland’s better Indian restaurants.”
Although Kala isn’t cooking for a profit, he said he is just as passionate about using his talents for the program.
“We’re trying to offer some good produce to the public and trying to get some good healthy stuff to people that probably doesn’t eat healthy stuff,” Kala said.