Guest Post by Dean Zatkowsky
Today’s curriculum centered on plant foods and applicable cooking techniques, which are mostly moist cooking techniques, such as steaming, blanching, boiling, etc. We also learned how to set up a salad bar attractive to kids, nutritional characteristics of grains and legumes, and, of course, how to plan and organize our work to meet deadlines without sacrificing quality.
While preparing breakfast, Chef Claud showed me how he uses citrus juice to prevent apple slices from turning brown. This is really important when serving kids, because they prefer sectioned fruit to whole fruit, and most kids won’t touch an apple slice that shows any brown.
In the classroom, Chef Naomi walked us through various moist cooking techniques and how and when to apply them.
The Chef Instructors frequently remind us that kids take their first taste of food with their eyes, so it’s really important to prepare tasty, nutritious food that also LOOKS delicious. We may be serving kids certain foods for the very first time, influencing their tastes for years to come. Overcooked foods look bad, have poor texture, and lose most or all of their nutritional value.
Student volunteers separate and identify a selection of grains and legumes.
Chef Luis demonstrates a sectioner tool.
Scratch cooking benefits from frequent tasting, and skillful tasting requires a trained palate. Here, Chef Claud conducts a tasting of fats and oils.
Chef Bethany, who also manages a school food service operation, demonstrated the salad spinner, and emphasized repeatedly the importance of cutting salad components small enough for a child’s comfort.
I did some tasting today too. Here is the BBQ Pork sandwich, with some treats from the salad bar…
…and here is the lasagna, kale, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower. In what I’m sure is an unrelated development, my clothes appear to be shrinking while I’m on this assignment.
Remember that you can download the Culinary Boot Camp Training Guidebook HERE. Later this month, we’ll also be adding quite a few recipes for easy downloading.