Setting the Globally-Inspired Lunchroom Table

Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Lunch Tray

Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Lunch Tray

The JSI Back to Basics Workshops to Go are 3-hour internationally-inspired culinary workshops dedicated to expanding the culinary skills of school nutrition staff and promoting healthier, freshly cooked, and customizable school menu options. In Back to Basics: Asian Fusion, staff advance their culinary skills and confidence in preparing a customizable Build-Your-Own Asian bowl with student-favorites such as chicken teriyaki, crispy tofu, confetti fried, rice, and more! Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine brings authentic Latin American flavors to schools and teaches school nutrition staff how to prepare a Build-Your-Own Street Taco menu option featuring fish tacos, fresh salsa, Spanish rice, and more!

 

These new menu-driven culinary workshops were created from a collaboration between the JSI Nutrition Education Specialist Jumana Saleh and the JSI chefs. In a recent interview, Saleh shared her observations from a recent visit to schools. “What’s been really fun is that the school nutrition staff are talking about how they can apply the workshops in their schools. Once the recipes are complete and we’ve set up the meal the way it would be served to the students, the school nutrition staff get to try and evaluate the customizable meal. They love it and start discussing how they will be able to execute and implement it – which means they’re taking it seriously.”

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Incorporating new flavors does not have to be a daunting task for school nutrition programs. Workshop menus are crafted to ensure flavors pair together well, recipe are standardized, nutritional analysis is completed and NSLP meal components are identified, and options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians are included.

A huge benefit of the Back to Basics culinary workshops is the wealth of knowledge from the JSI chef instructors.  Districts vary significantly and the chefs recognize and adapt to the differences in space and equipment available in school kitchens. “JSI chefs give the staff tips and tricks that boost culinary confidence in the kitchen. The JSI chef teaches them how to adjust their own settings and how to utilize what their school kitchen has available.”

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine Lunch Tray

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine Lunch Tray

Upon the completion of a Back to Basics culinary workshop, schools who would like additional chef support are encouraged to request a Live-Setting Culinary Training, where the JSI chef returns to facilitate the new customizable meal alongside kitchen staff during regular hours.

“At the end, because it’s customized menu, everyone’s plate has similar flavors but with their own creative twist. We encourage having students be able to explore things without it feeling like a huge commitment – like trying tofu without having it be their whole meal. We aim to expose the kids to foods from all over the world and try more things and be healthier overall.”

Dover-Sherborn Goes Back to Basics with Latin American Cuisine

JSI Chef wears gloves to hold the jalapeño pepper.

JSI Chef Brendan during the food demo

On December 5, 2018, Dover-Sherborn Regional High School participated in The John Stalker Institute’s Back to Basics Latin American Cuisine culinary Workshop to Go.During this 3-hour workshop, school nutrition staff learned about the ingredients and health benefits of foods from Latin America, and discovered healthy cooking techniques during a food demo. Nutrition staff also advanced their culinary skills by creating the following Latin American-inspired recipes.

  • Blackened Fish, Pulled Chicken and Pinto Taco Beans
  • Peppy Quinoa and Spanish Brown Rice
  • Crunchy Kale Slaw, Fresh Salsa, Mexicali Corn
  • Peach Salsa and Tropical Fruit Salad

The staff worked in groups to prepare these student-friendly recipes, and were given the opportunity to taste-test an authentic Build-Your-Own Latin American Street Taco.

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Cutting a lime used in the fresh salsa.

In tasting the recipe, the staff and the director had the opportunity to critique, discuss, and experience the Latin American Cuisine firsthand to ultimately decide which recipes to menu at their school. Through this workshop, staff have enhanced their culinary skills and built the confidence needed to prepare this new, popular menu option.

To learn more about the Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine workshop, please visit our website to request a Workshop To Go or visit the JSI Resource Center page!

What’s Cooking in the JSI Kitchen for 2019?

 

Recipe Testing Veggie Stir-Fry

This colorful and tasty veggie stir-fry is one of the many new recipes we are testing for our new Asian Fusion Culinary Workshop to Go coming in 2019!

In the JSI Kitchen, we are creating Asian Fusion recipes for a new culinary Workshop to Go coming in 2019! Before culinary workshops are offered to Massachusetts schools, recipe testing is conducted in the food lab at FSU. We check to be sure the recipe is accurate, practical, affordable, meets the nutritional requirements and, of course, tastes great!

Purchasing ingredients, prepping, cooking, and tasting new recipes is essential. The qualities and characteristics of each recipe are evaluated for appearance, taste, aroma, texture and overall acceptability. In doing this, recipe changes can be made to spices, herbs, or ingredients in the recipes, which lead to overall recipe improvement and ultimately student-approved recipes.

Stir fry sugar snap peas are prepared on the stove.

Feedback on the recipes is an essential part of the process. The JSI team scores and comments on the appearance, taste, aroma, texture, and acceptability of all the recipes. The favorites in this round of recipe testing included the colorful and tasty vegetable stir fry, crispy tofu, stir fry confetti rice, and the Asian beef strips.

Please visit the John Stalker Institute website to request a culinary workshop. Stay tuned for more information about our new Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Workshop to Go coming in 2019!

Medfield Public Schools Go Back to Basics

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.

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.

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!

Keefe Tech Adds Flavor and Flair to School Meals

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!

Apply by September 11th for Project Bread’s Chefs in Schools Program

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.