Fresh Take Blog

Scratch cooking collaboration

Feb. 1, 2019

On January 23, FoodPrints teachers and Cafeteria teams at 8 DCPS elementary schools spent the day learning and cooking together at CookCamp, led by our partner Wellness in the Schools.

Teams practiced knife skills and properly steaming and roasting fresh vegetables. This professional development opportunity was well timed with the DCPS food services vendor’s shift toward using more fresh veggies instead of frozen. Participants scratch-cooked the FoodPrints recipes they will serve to students this winter: sweet potato quesadillas, spiced cauliflower “popcorn,” veggie chili, Tuscan kale salad, and “bright green broccoli.”​ ​This professional development opportunity was well timed with SodexoMagic’s, the DCPS food services vendor, shift toward using more fresh veggies instead of frozen.

In addition to cooking, participants discussed the obesity epidemic in the United States and shared stories about the ways that diet-related diseases touches almost everyone. (One in 3 children born today will develop diabetes, and 80% of chronic disease is diet- and lifestyle-related, according to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.)

Beers Team preparing cauliflower “popcorn”
Kimball Team making delicious broccoli

Cook Camp was a part of our USDA Farm to School collaboration with DCPS Food and Nutrition Services and and Wellness in the Schools to transform school cafeterias by engaging cafeteria teams in scratch cooking and connecting lunchrooms with FoodPrints food and garden education.

School Without Walls at Francis Stevens hosted Cook Camp in their state-of-the-art teaching kitchen — a project supported by chef José Andrés — and their adjoining cafeteria kitchen. This winter and spring, FoodPrints teachers and cafeteria teams will continue collaboration to engage students in choosing and eating nutritious, scratch-cooked recipes.

And, just like in every FoodPrints class, teams enjoyed the delicious meal they prepared together. One cafeteria staff member summed up her experience as, “This was the best training I’ve been to!”

Watch a video of collaborative scratch-cooking of school meals at Cook Camp: ​


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