Heat of the Kitchen helps underserved youth realize their amazing value through active, professional practice. By cooking, cleaning and serving together, we connect in ways that last long after the dishes are done.
We’ve had some good results these past few weeks as we get ready for our next Long Table Dinner on March 6th (sold out already!!!). One side project was to find a crispy garnish that would also be tasty and light. Kale chips fall apart, but then we happened on this…
Yes, parsley crisps. You make them just like kale chips, getting rid of most of the stems which turn stringy. Then (when my back was turned) the genius part happened:
They put salt AND ground black pepper on them before baking.
Next up: we were given these oranges, 2 cases of little sweet mandarins. The peels were very tasty too so we made them into candied orange slices. I love making marmalade, but it is, frankly, a labor of love. So much work! These sliced up fairly well and took to being simmered in sugar syrup quite happily.
Now that we’ve canned most of them (for Long Table Dinner guests to take home if they like), we wanted to figure out the best use for the extras. So we’ve been making various versions of a delicious chili sauce:
It is great to witness the students getting excited about experimenting with recipes and enjoying the results. Even though the Long Table Dinner is sold out, let us know if you want us to share any of the recipes. A super special thank you to all of those who have been helping us get ready and get the word out. We are so grateful!!!
We took some time this week to work on a little hand cut pasta, and on making really good chicken broth. But we were also working on our teamwork in ways we hadn’t yet this quarter. Students impressed us with how they came together as a team with group awareness and efficiency.
This may have also been because many students committed to working the Long Table Dinner this week …exciting! It added a delicious real world focus to our work. Success all around.
Counting ourselves lucky as we get to cook in our first week back, thanks to our students being ready to try completely new things to them, and keep an open mind. Frittata over tomato sauce, salad and biscotti in the first week. With all the dishes clean and put away before that ringing bell.
And this time, no full class spent on measuring, no new module on the ins and outs on what it means to be a chef – BAM. You walk in, put on a workshirt, keep your pride of work (each step of the way) and your professionalism going and it is all a piece of cake. Together we can do a lot.
And, by the way, there will be no slacking this quarter. We will appreciate the good moments and keep our sense of kindness through our mishaps but we mean business. We are already talking about our next Long Table Dinner, about job shadows and creating some delicious food.
Look out people! And save the date to come and enjoy our accomplishments: Thursday March 7th. Long Table Dinner. 6-8pm. More Soon! It is a New Year.
Wow. Am I proud of my students. They made and served dinner to a very long table of guests on May 3rd in our central hallway. The experience was absolutely full-on professional.
Many of our students heard how proud everyone was of them too. Some students were even a little concerned, as if the accolades were based on how they behaved, not what they achieved.
But our success was not based on behavior or manners, it was based on something much stronger. There is a lot of strength in putting all of your combined efforts together to create true hospitality. Perhaps schools don’t experience this enough.
Together we can create more than the sum of our parts. We create that “magic” in the room, the reason why many restaurant owners take those huge financial leaps to provide a place where people can go and get fed in so many ways. When your guests have truly enjoyed their experience, it gives you this wonderful feeling, much more than satisfaction. There is a great deal of value to being a part of that kind of group effort and accomplishment. Thank you everyone involved with our first Long Table Dinner. More pictures soon, as we look forward to our next one in October!
Thanksgiving Bliss = preparing and serving a Thanksgiving meal to 200 of our closest classmates and teachers, most of whom I have a feeling skipped breakfast. But it was a special moment to watch our Culinary Arts students roll with the last minute changes and crowds of people wondering what was going to happen next. Lately I’ve been noticing this “what will happen next state” as not only the justifiable state of mind of a teenager, but also the state of mind for most of us in today’s world. Adaptability is now more important an attribute to have under one’s belt than ever before. Our Culinary Arts students showed how well they can adapt, and with eagerness.
Some quotes from them as they were serving:
“I want to do this for real”
“I love the smiles from people when you give them something good to eat.”
All that and more. There was a great write up in the San Francisco Chronicle about our program – THANK YOUEVERYONE who helped make that happen! As a result, we are now getting an increased interest in our job shadowing/ internship program from restaurants, hotels and caterers, which is very exciting. Now if only we can adapt as quickly as our students!
It is full speed ahead for our school’s annual Art Show this week and we are excited to be serving food from our Family Recipe Project! Please join us this Thursday, 3:30pm – 6pm, it is going to be a fun time for sure!
We are teaming up with the annual Ida B. Wells Art Show, Thursday May 6, 2010, 4pm-6pm! Ida B. Wells High School 1099 Hayes St. @ Pierce San Francisco
We’ll take care of simple refreshments, and will be featuring a cookbook of family recipes brought in by our Culinary Arts students. It will give everyone a chance to see what we are doing. Come on out and support all of our artists!
A school-wide Thanksgiving feast has been a tradition at Ida B. Wells for years. The kitchen becomes a kitchen again in a different sense and we serve up a classic fare for the student body. Teachers brought in cooked turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes and salad.
This year, my students contributed a few pies, and did much of the prep work. While many of them were suspicious of the pumpkin pie we made, there is a magic pride that happens when you see your efforts put on a plate and served to others – and then see them enjoy it. I had a few students come up to me and say how good it was too.
And this apple pie? I had to fight people off so those who made it could at least see the results!
Thank you to Mrs. E. & Mrs. J. for carrying the responsibility for this feast for so many years and for sharing those valuable pearls of wisdom into this year. We hope you will be back in full force next year.