Multi-hyphenate entrepreneur Paris Hilton made a surprise visit to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus on Tuesday, meeting with Center staff and clients to learn about the organization’s Culinary Arts program and Youth Services.
The TV star pulled up to the Center in a signature pink bus filled with sets of her “iconic” pink and gold cookware line and was greeted by excited fanfare of Center youth and students from the Culinary Arts program. Before heading inside, she stopped to take photos and connect with fans.
“I’m so excited to be here today to surprise everyone,” Hilton said. “I think it’s just an amazing place. They do incredible work, and I’m just happy to be here to bring some sparkle.”
In the kitchen, celebrity chef and Center Board member Susan Feniger and Culinary Arts Program Director Nick Panepinto shared information about the program, which enrolls up to 80 students per year, equipping them with the skills and training to pursue careers in the restaurant and hospitality sectors while helping make more than 150,000 meals per year for our clients.
The 12-week intergenerational training program welcomes students from the Center’s Senior Services and Youth Services department, providing 300 hours of training across three modules: basic culinary skills development, campus meal production for the Center’s clients, and externship and job placement assistance.
The program—which is free to students and requires no previous experience—provides a uniform and apron embroidered with the student’s chosen name, as well as a knife set upon graduation. Students get hands-on training in the Center’s commercial-grade kitchen, where they learn new skills while helping to prepare up to 500 fresh and nutritious meals a day for the Center’s youth and senior members, many who struggle with homelessness and food insecurity.
In order to provide direct industry experience, the final part of the program is internship placement in a wide range of local businesses, spanning fine dining establishments, amusement parks, bakeries, and cafés.
“Live your life unapologetically. Be yourself.”Paris Hilton’s advice to LGBTQ+ youth
After assisting the kitchen in preparing a batch of pastry cream—pink, naturally—Hilton posed for a photo with the current class of Culinary Arts students and donated sets of her cookware to be distributed among students and residents.
“It was such an honor to come here today to see everyone, and I look forward to coming back again,” Hilton said. “And I want to say a big congratulations to all the Culinary Arts graduates.”
Asked for her advice to LGBTQ+ youth looking to “sliv” their best lives, she said: “Live your life unapologetically. Be yourself.”