Engaging Students to Rewrite the Recipe of School Food

Engaging Students to Rewrite the Recipe of School Food


Culinary is that moment that I can actually
be myself. So you go in, you cook, you let everything
go at the door. It gives you that outburst of creativity where
you can be you with your food. When I try to think about life without culinary
it’s like kind of a hard thing of where would I be. It was during my senior year that I heard
about the Cooking up Change program. Well, Cooking up Change is a project, it’s
an exercise in which our culinary arts students are learning what it takes to actually produce
a meal that’s served in our cafeterias. It can be only so many steps that can be replicated
in other cafeterias, it has to follow USDA’s guidelines, only costs about a dollar to produce and tastes good. Students are learning what it takes to actually
produce such a meal. They are more about health. You can’t add no salt, like no sugar, like
you can’t add that. But that’s the thing that people expect out
of chefs though, like I bet you any chef you speak to could give you a time where they
had limited ingredients and someone was just like, make that taste good. When I realized people actually liked my food
and liked how I was making my food, out of my vision, it actually made me like, yeah,
I’m actually pretty good at what I do. I felt like I had a big voice and I had a
big say so in what was going on next as far as food choices. When Cooking up Change menu items are on the
lines in our cafeterias, students are often picking that first. When it came that time where I was like, oh
you’re going to D.C., I was just like, I don’t think I’m ready, I don’t think I’m cut for
this. The eyes are like. I always like opportunities for students to
get away from their neighborhood; some of them never been past 15 blocks of their house,
to be honest with you, so it’s a big deal. And then when it hits then, like man, I just
presented on the Senate floor, I was like, yeah, you were in the hearing and you presented
and all these lobbyists and policy makers got a chance to listen to you. If you have access to good food, you will
be more alert and more ready to learn. Some students are actually preaching that
and going out as like soldiers of, you know, of there’s other healthier lifestyles out there
than what we have as teenagers. We placed second in the national competition. When I came back from D.C., I felt like a
whole totally different person and now I’m back and I feel like I can just do anything. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. Let’s start cooking better for the children
that we serve. If we can get everybody to start doing that,
then, you know, what a better place we could be.

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