Introducing vegetables and fruits to students at an early age will help them to make healthier food choices for a lifetime. Using culinary techniques to make fruits and vegetables more appealing can be an effective way to increase student consumption. With the JSI Workshop to Go: Back to Basics Fresh Vegetables and Fruits training, school nutrition staff learn more about how to use produce from local farms and give canned, frozen, and fresh vegetables a flavor boost. Staff will create new, appealing ways of presenting vegetables and fruits to students, sharpen cutting and peeling skills, and discover the best practices to purchase, prepare, store and freeze produce in this hands-on cooking class.
On February 2, 2017, Medfield Public Schools invited JSI to present the Workshop to Go: Back to Basics Fresh Vegetables and Fruits. Chef Brendan Gallagher began the workshop by asking the staff to taste and compare vegetables prepped in a traditional way to those prepared using an alternative method, such as sautéing, roasting and blanching. It was no surprise that the new culinary techniques were preferred.
Medfield school nutrition staff learn from Chef Brenden during food demo
Chef Brenden Gallagher sautéing kale
Scratch and speed scratch recipes that incorporate USDA foods as well as local fresh produce result in lower food costs for the school nutrition program. During this workshop, the school nutrition staff put their knowledge to work with a hands-on cooking activity where each small group worked as a team to prepare a recipe from scratch.
Cooking teams create Lemon Zest Broccoli & Colorful Marinated Veggies
Cooking the Harvest Delight recipe
Interested in more information? Check out the resources used in the Back to Basics: Fresh Vegetables and Fruits Workshops to Go in the JSI Resource Center. Please visit the JSI website for more information. Take a step towards improving your school’s nutrition, and request a Workshop to Go today!
Do you know the top food trends of your Gen Z (those born after 1995) students? Does your café offer a flavor station for students? Are you engaging all five senses when students enter your café? JSI can help you answer “yes” to these questions and more in the new Infusing Flavor and Flair into School Meals Workshop to Go. Explore K-12 culinary trends, food presentation techniques, flavor profiles with student appeal, and how to overall enhance school meals.
Keefe Tech school nutrition staff and Chef Janyl
On January 13, 2017 Keefe Regional Technical High School took advantage of JSI Workshops to Go by bringing the Infusing Flavor and Flair into School Meals workshop directly to the school nutrition staff at their school. Chef Janyl Finnerty, RD led the workshop.
Throughout the workshop, the Keefe Tech school nutrition staff explored key food trends and food presentation strategies. An opportunity to enhance the flavor profiles of their school meals was also achieved through the following activities:
- Guess the spice or herb based on their scent
- Create, add, and taste several spice blends
- Watch, learn and taste with a Tunisian Chickpea recipe demo by Chef Janyl
Food demo recipe, Tunisian Chickpeas, prepared by Chef Janyl
Check out the resources used in the Infusing Flavor and Flair into School Meals Workshops to Go in the JSI Resource Center. Please visit the JSI website for more information. Take a step towards improving your school’s nutrition, and request a Workshop to Go today!
What is Chefs in Schools?
Chefs in Schools is a Massachusetts based training program in which school food service staff is taught how to prepare healthy, cost effective recipes that students will eat. It began in just three Boston Public Schools and has since expanded to Chelsea, Lawrence, Salem, and Beverly Public Schools and anticipates further expansion for the 2015-2016 school year.
What does this mean?
Districts across the Commonwealth will now have the opportunity to participate in this proven program. Participating districts will receive a chef one to three days per week to train cafeteria staff on basic culinary skills, time management, cooking times and temperatures, basic cooking techniques, use of herbs and spices, presentation, and marketing.
How can my district participate?
Read more about the guidelines here.
Fill out an application, save it, attach it in an email to Guy_koppe@projectbread.org
Hurry! Applications are due Friday, September 11, 2015.
~ blog written by Samantha Therrien, graduate student in Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University.