ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A project two years in the making is cooking up a path to success for Rochester students.

A community partnership with Salena's Mexican Restaurant, Nox Craft and Cocktail Lounge and East High School's culinary program came full circle at a ribbon cutting on Tuesday. The grand opening of the Rochester Youth Culinary Experience restaurant added the final teaspoon to a mix of faith and success in the city's youth. 

“Everyone was doubting our abilities because we were city kids, and we were teenagers and we would be cooking their food,” said waitress, Majestyk Tramel.

A total of 20 juniors and seniors serve Caribbean style cuisine seven days a week at the Village Gate complex location. The operation also dished out a message that extends beyond the kitchen.

“It gives them something outside the home and outside of school another reason why you should stay focused in the books, stay focused in your career and actually do what you love to do,” said Dominique Brown, assistant manager.

“If they're working a job then they'll have less of a chance of doing drugs or being in some part of bad affiliation,” said Tramel.

In the end, the kids seemed to have found a recipe for success.

“The food is delicious. We love the fact that it's going to help a good cause,” customer Larissa Lalka said.

“When you get down to the basics and focus on what you need to do you can actually do that and make it be better than something you ever would have dreamed of,” said Brown.

Moving forward, the student run restaurant hopes with the help of the community it can continue to pour into the lives of district's students one dish at a time.