The lunch menu included herb roasted chicken roasted sweet potatoes, garden greens and celery hearts with homemade dressings and whole-wheat pasta salad with feta and garbanzos.

Wednesday, May 16, marked the third day-long culinary training of twenty-six Santa Barbara County promotores by Chef Instructors and staff from the Orfalea Foundation’s School Food Initiative.

This week’s curriculum included:

  • Culinary math, appropriate portioning, and recipe costing techniques
  • Rethinking salt and sugar: how much is too much? How to calculate the amounts in packaged foods
  • Recalibrating taste buds to fully appreciate the subtleties of natural, authentic flavors
  • Strategies for eliminating sweetened beverages & making the move to water
  • Behavior modeling
  • Natural flavors vs. artificial: a side-by-side sensory analysis
  • Pancake mix: making it from scratch to control price, ingredients and nutritional content
  • Successful household budgeting: key spending points, goal creation and creative strategies for dealing with unforeseen challenges
  • And as usual, samples of delicious and healthful meals and snacks

School Food Initiative chef-instructor Naomi Serizawa walks the class an exercise in recipe costing. The pasta salad penciled out to a 4-oz. portion cost of 37 cents: another example of the cost benefit of scratch cooking


Promotora Maria Ruvalcabe demonstrates the process of using a conversion factor when scaling a recipe’s yield.


How much high fructose corn syrup is in that 20 oz. Coke? Students did the math: its 65 grams of sweetener is equal to 15.47 teaspoons of sugar. If you wouldn’t eat that much sugar why would you drink it?


School Food Initiative Food Literacy Consultant, Melissa Fontaine conducts an exercise in proactive budgeting strategies.



Next week: school food regulations, menu planning, disposables vs. durables, water bottle math, the USDA commodity program and Graduation!

(For more information about Santa Barbara County’s promatores de salud program, see our earlier post HERE)

Special thanks to:

1 Comment » for Promotores Training with The School Food Initiative: Day 3

  1. Ayman says:

    Sara, you are an amazing person and I am so honored to have met you and to have you come to our school. You inspire me to get on my bike and ride! We will be following you all the way to Seattle. See you tomorrow! It’s gonna be a hot one! We have plenty of water for you! Ms. B. and the entire Dons Net Cafe!

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