What started as a way to teach homeless youth how to cook has turned into Hot Plate Madness.

That’s the name of the YouTube series produced by MyHouse and Nine Star, two groups that work with the homeless in the Mat-Su Valley.

Jenn Martin, a case manager for MyHouse, and Roger Hamacher from Nine Star host the weekly show.

Hamacher said it’s aimed at helping their clients stretch their budget.

“Ten dollars you spend at McDonald's is a one-time deal. The $10 you spend making Brandon's Veggie-Ghetti that would last you two or three days on that same amount of money with a much higher nutritional value,” Hamacher explained.

The grassroots cooking show is put together using a handful of cameras— an iPhone dangling from the ceiling and a GoPro for close-ups— and goes up on YouTube so they can reach their transient audience.


This week’s recipe: Dorrie’s Flamingo Tacos, in honor of the My House receptionist who’s moving away. The ingredients include ground beef, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and, of course, taco shells.

Martin said it’s all about basic but delicious dishes made with limited kitchen equipment.

“The clients I work with are often in dry cabins or efficiency apartments or hotel rooms where they're crashing where literally all you have is a hot plate on a counter,” she said.

Abby Lampley has been a MyHouse client for more than two years. She likes to be a part of the live studio audience so she can learn the skills she didn’t get growing up.

Lampley had half her brain removed as a child and is partially paralyzed. She left her abusive parents when she was 17.

“My 18th birthday present was going to be kicked out on the streets because that's where people like me belong, is what my dad told me,” Lampley said.

Through MyHouse she was able to get housing and job skills. Now at age 20, she has her own apartment and is the editor and social media director for a small Valley newspaper.

Lampley said she likes Hot Plate Madness because it gives her an even better sense of independence.

“I feel so proud. If someone had told me a year ago I'd be cooking for myself, real, nutritious food, I would have told them they were crazy,” Lampley said.

Martin and Hamacher are novice chefs who like to goof around in the kitchen and show making food for yourself doesn’t have to be difficult.

“Jenn and I don't know what we're doing either and we show that it's one of those deals if you go for it you can succeed,” Hamacher said.

The show tapes every Friday. So far there are 18 videos on YouTube for people to check out. Martin and Hamacher hope to have 52 recipes completed this year so their clients have a number of healthy, tasty options.

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