Bite of Brainfood Blog

“I finally see the real importance of being detail oriented” and other lessons from a Saturday at the White House

Relaxing in Lafayette Park after a hard day's work

On a sunny Saturday, one week before Halloween, 3 Brainfood students were invited to do what every DC sweet tooth dreams of in the month of October: help the White House pastry kitchen prepare treats for Halloween.  It seemed like a positively delicious way to spend an afternoon, but as any Brainfood student knows, working in the kitchen often means finding satisfaction in hard work, and taking pride in getting things done behind the scenes. 

Remembering Andrew Wolf

Andrew Wolf was an intern with Brainfood Summer Institute in 2007, and a Weekly Classroom Assistant at Brainfood Columbia Heights for the 2008-2009 after school program.  On September 16th, 2010, Andrew was killed in a bike accident while riding with Otesha, a Canadian non-profit that organizes workshops on social justice across Canada. Below, Program Coordinator Carina Gervacio gives one last Brainfood 'Kudos' to a very remarkable human being.

Week 6: Ending the Summer Institute in Style

Monday- Chef Kevin
How did you kick off your Monday this week?  Ours started off with a familiar kitchen guest, dried ancho chiles, and enough melted cheese to win over the hearts and minds of our summer students.  Chef Kevin Villalovos, from neighboring restaurant, Cure, made his second appearance in our Chinatown kitchen, this time for a workshop on Mexican food.  Under his guidance, students dutifully chopped their way through piles of cilantro, de-seeded handfuls of leathery ancho chile pods, and kept a watchful eye on whole chickens simmering away in a fragrant bath of water, onion, cumin, and bay leaves.

Themes, Themes and more Themes!

It was a very themed week at Brainfood's Summer Institute! Everyday was different, and out students embraced the changes beautifully.

Monday was Thanksgiving day, and students made many of the classic holiday dishes.  There were staples like dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, apple pie, and two types of collard greens.  Instead of a turkey, Brainfood students seasoned and roasted a chicken. 

Seafood, Sugar and a Service Project

It was quite the busy week at Brainfood! Each day was jam-packed with new and exciting learning experiences, and of course, delicious food! 

Monday kicked off the week with a build your own semi freddo day, including a huge variety of mix-ins. From bananas to Butterfingers to brownies, each student enjoyed their own tasty creation! 

Tuesday brought a change of pace as the class explored the value of community service and prepared spinach and mushroom lasagnas for the women’s dinner program at Thrive DC. Students were able to consider ways in which they could become more involved in their communities and brainstorm important issues that they feel need to be addressed in DC. 

New skills, New foods: Week 3 Recap

Brainfood’s Summer Institute students had a busy third week, full of new skills and foods! 

Monday’s focus was on the most important meal of the day: breakfast!  Students made chocolate chip coconut pancakes, working on a griddle for the first time, as well as asparagus and spinach quiche, and turkey sausage patties.  Students also learned about cross contamination, since they were working with raw turkey, and how to prevent food borne illness when working with such items.

Week 2: Chopping and Shopping!

Although it was a short week due to the Fourth of July holiday, Brainfood students encountered many new and exciting experiences!

 

We began the week learning knife skills and knife safety in the kitchen. The students practiced a batonette, a dice, and a mince while preparing ingredients for ratatouille and minestrone soup. 

The next day, students delved further into knife skills by learning how to julienne and brunoise. These cuts were practiced while making an Asian noodle salad and a creamy fruit salad. 

 

Brainfood student chefs at White House... again! Part 2

This past week Brainfood participants had the opportunity to visit the White House, learn from the White House chefs, and help prepare food for the 4th of July picnic. Over the 2 days, our participants seared chicken, grilled portobello mushrooms, cut tomatoes & cucumbers, prepped hamburgers & hamburger buns, skewered corn, cut fruit for jam, and scooped cookie dough.

Here is what the rest of them had to say about their visit:

Click here to read more student reflections in Part 1

 

“Favorite part was taking pictures and walking in the garden.  I used knife skills from Brainfood.”

- Taylor W., 9th grade, Doar PCS

 

 

 

 

Brainfood student chefs at the White House... again! Part 1

This past week Brainfood participants had the opportunity to visit the White House, learn from the White House chefs, and help prepare food for the 4th of July picnic.  Over the 2 days, our participants seared chicken, grilled portobello mushrooms, cut tomatoes & cucumbers, prepped hamburgers & hamburger buns, skewered corn, cut fruit for jam, and scooped cookie dough.

Here is what some of them had to say about their visit:

Summer starts with a BANG!

Last week was one busy week here at Brainfood! Not only did we bring a group of Brainfood program graduates to the White House but we also started our 6-week Brainfood Summer Institute on Monday June 28th. This year’s summer program is a bit different than previous summers. We decided to have our program in the afternoon to help accommodate youth who may have other commitments or responsibilities in the morning. Youth will attend Brainfood from 1pm - 4pm each afternoon and our curriculum will have a similar design to our after school program – lots of hands-on cooking and experiential learning!

After many weeks of planning our summer staff were so excited to meet our 19 high school aged students on Monday afternoon. We started our program with a BANG! On Day 1, we set our group expectations - the key to Brainfood's success, learned how to measure the "Brainfood way" and how to read a recipe. Our participants picked up all the new skills and vocabulary really quickly and by the end of the afternoon we had made dozens of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (a Brainfood first day tradition).

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