Bite of Brainfood Blog

A Food Gallery Walk with Brainfood

From guest blogger Ibti Vincent, Weekly MVPs Classroom Assitant.... 

Last week marked Brainfood's first ever Community MVPs Open House and Food Fair, and boy was it a fun (and delicious) event! Though the group taught their first workshop at Walker Jones Elementary this fall, for many in attendance this was their first opportunity to see the peer nutrition educators hosting food demos and leading a special event.

Elevator Speeches, Super Bowl and Valentine's Day

From Guest Blogger Carolyn Panzarella, Community MVPs Intern....

The Community MVPs classroom has been bustling with activity in the last few weeks.  As always, we have been continuing practicing public speaking.  All this practice will be put into use in the coming months when we will be putting on more workshops. 

The students have been practicing their elevator speeches:  a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.  We have done a number of exercises to perfect their speeches including volume practice in the big hall downstairs, as projecting voices is always a difficult task, and writing out the speech and pitching it to the class.  

A Valentine's Treat & Guest Chef visit!

From Guest Blogger Cara Oslager, Brainfood intern....

Hey Brainfood Fans! This is Cara, the intern from Kitchen All Stars on Mondays and Wednesdays.  This past Monday, we were very lucky to have our first guest chef come in!  Her name was Chef Lisa Biedrzycki, a pastry chef living here in DC.  She used to be a lawyer and then decided to follow her passion to become a chef and graduated as valedictorian from the Culinary Institute of America!  As a pastry chef, she has lots of experience making Petit Fours and this is what we were going to learn how to assemble.  We were lucky enough to have Chef Lisa bring in the pre-made layered cake so all we had to do was cut out shapes, put together a thick glaze, and learn how to pipe chocolate for designs!  Each group was given a rectangular cake of either chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream in the middle or a pound cake with blackberry preserve in the middle.  We then cut either the classic square shape or fun Valentine’s Day shapes for our petit fours.  Then, each group made a glaze consisting of powdered sugar and milk without a recipe.  It was a tough process in order to get the glaze to be the right thickness, but Chef Lisa was there to check out all of the groups.  She then let us use highly concentrated food coloring to create fun and bright colors for the icing.  Each group iced their petit fours while some group members focused on learning the design techniques using melted chocolate. 

The New Year with Brainfood Community MVP’s

From Guest Blogger Carolyn Panzarella, Brainfood MVPs intern....

The New Year has brought a whirlwind of new projects and recipes to the MVPs kitchen.  We have made homemade poptarts, turkey tacos and a delicious baked potato soup to name a few.  A highlight cooking session was our breakfast day when we made a scrumptious breakfast pizza topped with fried eggs and potato latkes with cinnamon apples.  Thank you to the Deb of the Smitten Kitchen blog for providing the recipes.  

It’s party time at Brainfood!

After 12 fun filled weeks of baking, mixing, chopping, sautéing and skill building, Brainfood students got to show off their talents right before winter break at the annual Brainfood Holiday Party. It was a busy week of preparation but was a great opportunity for our participants to display all they have learned in the kitchen. For the party, Brainfood students prepared their favorite recipes: oven baked fries, cheddar biscuits, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, mini Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes, corn chowder, and 10 different types of pizza for their family and friends to taste and enjoy. They also made delicious sugar cookies that we decorated and then donated to THRIVE DC, our community service partner. 

Bubble Tea and Teacher Training at the Grand Hyatt

The Community MVPs rang in December with a fun field trip to DC’s lovely Grand Hyatt.  Staff from the hotel’s restaurant, Cure, and from the human resources department helped to make our experience very enjoyable.  Four lucky ladies were chosen to stay behind to do a “secret” workshop with managers from Cure while the rest of the group was led on a tour of the hotel. 


Stir Fry, Second Graders, and the first Community MVPs workshop

Brainfood MVPs set off for their first workshop Thursday, November 3rd.   Our plan was to go to Walker Jones Elementary school and work with second and third graders to harvest some vegetables from their huge school garden and then incorporate those vegetables into a healthy version of Asian take out food. 

Still on a sugar high... Thanks Sprinkles!

Can you imagine baking and selling over 1,000 cupcakes each day? And hand frosting each one? That's what the folks at Sprinkles do each and everyday starting at 4am (Frosters start at 5am)!

This week Brainfood was lucky enough to take a field trip over to Georgetown and sneak a peek into one of the newest cupcake shops to hit DC. Sprinkles welcomed our Columbia Heights Tuesday & Thursday class to hang out for an afternoon and learn about the cupcake business. We learned all about how Sprinkles makes their cupcakes, markets them and even donates all their leftover cupcakes at the end of the evening. Most importantly, we learned how to make their famous (and delicious) vanilla frosting and how to hand frost cupcakes. After a frosting lesson from their general manager Terra, all our youth got a chance to frost and decorate 2 cupcakes. We learned it’s pretty tricky and we may need a bit more practice before they are Sprinkles worthy, but they looked awesome for first timers.

Check the out our cupcakes:

I have been having a great time at Brainfood so far!

From Guest Blogger Cara Oslanger, Brainfood intern....

Hello readers!

My name is Cara and I am the intern for the Kitchen All Stars program on Mondays and Wednesdays in Chinatown.  I have been having a great time at Brainfood so far!  All of the students are so wonderful and bring such a different food experience to class.  I love to share stories and watch their skills progress each time we are in the kitchen.  Their reactions when eating at the end of class is my favorite part.  I love to see students surprised to like a food they thought they hated and be proud that they are trying new things and creating delicious food all on their own.  Everyone seems to learn very quickly and really enjoy themselves.  Since we started out baking, my favorite recipe from that section was the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes... yum.  This past class, we made Ratatouille and that had to be my second favorite.  I really enjoy coming to class every week and look forward to the recipes we make and the time we get to share together!

Brainfood welcomed me to the new school year!!

Hello everyone, my name is LaSchellé Owens, I am the new instructor here at Brainfood-Chinatown location, I am so happy to be apart of Brainfood Kitchen All Star program this school year. My students are all from different schools in DC. I met such great students who are excited about learning, building life skills, and new cooking skills. I am learning so much myself as well. I am pumped up about what we have in store for the students this school year. So far we have started off with baking.  Our recipes varied from Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake Brownies and Vegan Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Muffins to Cheddar Biscuits and Sweet Potato Biscuits. Which by the way were all DELICIOUS!!!  Everyone was so proud of their new found baking skills, such as sifting flour, separating an egg and measuring the “Brainfood Way” and so was I.  


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