Migrating to the Kitchen Day yields tasty meals, learning opportunities

August 8, 2017

Monday, Aug. 7 was a very busy day in the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford Branch Culinary School kitchen. It was Migrating to the Kitchen Day for students enrolled in the federally funded Title 1-C National Migrant Education Program.

This week is the final one in the six-week summer program. The program is based in the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club with a second site in Dover. Students range in age from 3rd grade to high school, but are mostly middle school age. Their parents work in various aspects of the agricultural industry, including packing and picking.

Eighteen very enthusiastic young student chefs helped prepare lunch using local produce under the watchful eyes – and with guidance –  from the Food Bank’s Executive Chef Tim Hunter, Chef Instructor Tish Badamshin,  culinary school alumni Anthony and Eric, and current students Meg and Victoria.

Together they prepared a delicious meal using local produce that was picked or packed by their parents. Perdue in Milford donated chicken for the event.

First, each student got a chef’s toque, and then worked as a member of four separate teams to prepare lunch using the ingredients provided. The finished entrees  ranged from chicken tacos to chicken and pasta to spicy chicken, served with fresh vegetables, fruit kabobs, and fruit parfaits for dessert.

Just like the cooking competitions on the Food Network, these young chefs were on a deadline.

The food preparation was followed by the best part of the event: eating lunch! Obviously the students enjoyed their creations as they went back for second and third helpings.

Then the students were able to vote for their favorite dish. The winner?  Mashed potatoes! The Food Warrior team got the most votes for their menu that included chicken pepperoni rolls, loaded fries, and roasted vegetables.

In addition to the actual preparation, a bit of additional fun was planned by incorporating a peer-judged food contest into the experience.

Ryan McNulty, a Milford Central Academy social studies teacher, supervised this 6-week program, and this is the second year students cooked at the Food Bank of Delaware.

Once again, he deemed the day a success, as did the Food Bank chefs.

“This is a great opportunity for kids to see the things we can do with the foods their parents produce,” said Food Banks’ Executive Chef Tim Hunter.

And the kids seemed to agree! Jordan said he learned “mixing food tastes good.” Natalie reported that she enjoyed making mashed potatoes, while Miquel said he “just liked helping make the food.”

It was an enjoyable day, too, for Victoria, a current Culinary School student. “It was really fun, and really beneficial for the kids to learn different things,” she said.

“At the Food Bank of Delaware, we are always actively encouraging education – no matter what the age – about nutrition and healthy food preparation. Bringing students from the state’s migrant program into our Culinary School in Milford to involve them in the progress of preparing a delicious and nutritious meal with fresh local agricultural products is a win-win for everyone involved. The students were engaged and obviously having fun while learning, and the Food Bank staff, including our own Culinary School students,  enjoyed seeing the smiles on their faces. It was a great day for everyone,” said Chad Robinson, director of strategic initiatives.

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s programs, visit www.fbd.org.

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