Local restaurant AmiGos was packed to the brim this Tuesday evening, which marked the third day of the Kahu Youth ‘takeover’ of the venue. For 11 years, young people from Kahu Youth have been given the incredible opportunity to be able to wait tables and help in the kitchen at the dynamic Mexican restaurant, one of Wānaka’s longest running eateries.
The initiative started small in 2008 and proved so popular that it turned public and has since raised over $14,000 for the Kahu Youth Trust. In addition to having AmiGos wait staff pairing up with the youth to assist them, AmiGos donates half of each night’s takings to the Trust whose key focus is to improve the lives of Upper Clutha Youth.
Cholula Brown (age 11) was waiting tables on Tuesday evening, and was really enjoying the experience, saying that it was, “very fun and kinda nervous... my parents came.” For some of the older youth who take part, this experience turned into earning positions working at the restaurant regularly and inspiring others to apply. Richard Elvey, the youth worker who helps to coordinate the effort, said that the feedback from those involved keeps on getting better every year and the ‘take over’ gets more and more fluid every year, “The youth essentially become waiters, bar staff and kitchen hands for the evening. The chefs are still the usual Amigos staff—for obvious reasons—and all the usual front of house staff shadow the young people and support them when needed. It's a well oiled machine these days!”
It was all go at the restaurant on Tuesday evening, with several groups filling all of the seats. Bookings are still available for this Thursday May 30. Make sure to mention Kahu Youth when booking.