Dough Girl: Creating Good Jobs for Local Youth | KCET
Dough Girl: Creating Good Jobs for Local Youth
Four years ago, Mar Diego launched Dough Girl as a way to bring quality food to low-income areas. Today, the Lake Balboa pizza joint has become much more than that. In addition to baking creative pies like the In-N-Out-inspired Animal Style and lobster bisque-smothered Mobster pizzas, Dough Girl is lending a hand to local youth dealing with issues like homelessness and addiction.
Diego says it's a way to "pay it forward." In "Broken Bread," she shares her personal story with Roy Choi. In her own youth, Diego sold drugs and, ultimately, was incarcerated. While in prison, she worked in the kitchen. After her release, Diego went to culinary school. All that leads to Dough Girl.
When kids come to Dough Girl, Diego gets them started with the basics, like cleaning and making pizza boxes. More importantly, she'll listen to them. "They know we're not going to judge you," says Diego. "We know that you sleep on the floor of some garage parking lot at night and you wake up and you try to figure it out, but there's really not a way to figure it out because no one will give you the time of day."
Eventually, she'll teach them how to make pizza and the kids can eat the results. "It's kind of like a bonding time for us," she says. "I want to make sure that they feel that vibe, where it's your work and you earned it and now you get to sit and enjoy it and you have someone that cares about you."
More About Broken Bread
Now that Dough Girl has been around for four years, Diego has seen some of her staff grow from teenagers to young adults. She mentions one staffer who came on board at 17 and now, at 22, is helping those looking for a space at Dough Girl. "Now, what I see is that he takes the lead and he does what I do," she says. "He takes pride in it."
Dough Girl is preparing to open a second location in Pacoima, the neighborhood where Diego was raised. They'll have a trained staff to start, Diego says, but the goal is to work with Pacoima youth as well.
Connect with KCET
Here are a few programs and articles we recommend to help center your Thanksgiving celebration on honoring and amplifying Native stories, seeking truth about our history, and acknowledging Indigenous presence and wisdom.
Here’s where to find five of L.A.’s most scenic bridge crossings — and why they’re fascinating destinations in their own right.
Children whose educations have been disrupted by the pandemic may suffer life-long consequences, including shorter life spans, according to a study released today by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Many artists find work has dried up due to COVID-19, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop working entirely. Several artists and people who work with artists share their best tips on things to do when work is slow.
- 1 of 398
- next ›
Roy explores the power of cooking to rehabilitate those on the margins of society and the organizations taking a chance on those who need it most.
Roy meets the individuals bringing healthy and affordable food options into South L.A. communities that lack access to fresh food.
Roy explores future culinary landscapes looking forward to a world affected by climate change.
Roy explores the issues of equality and the emergence of a new culinary landscape since the advent of legalized recreational marijuana.
Roy journeys from L.A. to Orange County to discover how non-profit innovators are tackling the problem of food waste.
- 1 of 2
- next ›