The smell of smoke greets visitors to the KCQue restaurant before the front door opens. Odds are, Mike Kaiser is putting the finishing touches on another award-winning recipe.

The Kansas City transplant is enjoying life in Tarpon Springs. The passion for pork followed him all the way from the Midwest.

“That’s usually like the World Series,” he said, gazing at his first-place trophy from in the American Royal competition, one of the biggest in the country.

The man who spent his life going low and slow has decided to help high school kids find fast track to their culinary futures.

“They love it here,” said Boley Center program manager, Anita Smith. “It’s so nice for them to have really positive work environments. Especially this being their first job.”

KCQue employees nearly a dozen high school-aged students looking to find out if a career in the food industry is something they’d like to pursue. Teenagers work at the restaurant in all capacities – in the kitchen, hosting a waiting tables. The current night manager even started as a high school student with the Kaisers.

“Oh, I definitely want them here,” said Mike’s wife, Nancy. “We just hired a new girl today. They’re go-getters. We’ve had no problem with the kids at all.”

The Boley Center, which helps kids find jobs in career fields that interest them, helps businesses as well by paying half of the employee’s salary. It’s an enrichment program designed to mutually benefit both the workplace and young worker.

“The Boley Center helped me get the job so it was easier and that was good to know you had support,” said Tamiya Jones, who was hired last Wednesday. “We’re so young and it’s hard to get a job when you’re 15.”

That hasn’t deterred the Kaisers, who have embraced a younger work staff. Their focus is helping the community, starting with their employees.

“Pork and kids,” Nancy said with a laugh. “Well, we do have chicken, too.”

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