Bite of Brainfood Blog

Community MVPs FIRST Workshop!

Written by Maeve Rafferty, Program Coordinator, Community MVPs

We made believers out of our MVPs (alright, and me) that a moist, crispy round the edges, soft in the middle, sweet, gotta-have-more-than-just-one, healthy cookie, does in fact exist!   Though the true test, as to whether these cookies were as good as we thought, was held last Thursday.   Twenty four kids from DC Scores, ages 9-11, came to our kitchen to try a hand at making and tasting them as well.  
Now I love words but the real story of this workshop has to be told with pictures.  

The workshop began in our classroom and lets just say all hands went right up when Sylverline asked, “Who likes Cookies?!”


Granville Moore's at Brainfood!

Last week Brainfood had the honor of hosting Chef Teddy Folkman, of Granville Moore's, in our class at Chinatown.  Teddy filled the kitchen with energy and passion.  What was up his sleeve this time?  Arugula Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Blackened Chicken with a homemade ranch dressing.  

Volunteer Spotlight...Alan Seifert!

Volunteer Spotlight….because we can’t do it without them!

         We rely very heavily on our volunteers here at Brainfood.  They come to class once a week and work one-on-one with students, help prevent cooking disasters, clean up spills and lend words of wisdom and kind thoughts to participants.   Our volunteers are such rock stars that we thought you all should have a chance to see Brainfood from their perspective.  

        This month we would like to present to you, Brainfood Weekly Classroom Assistant, Alan Seifert!  Alan volunteers every Thursday at our Chinatown location.  Here are some of his thoughts…

1.  Why did you join Brainfood?
 I enjoy interacting with young people.  I like getting to know them, bantering with them and passing along some mentoring in a low key way.  Also, eating and cooking are a big part of my life.  Brainfood serves both these interests.


My (Yummy) First Week at Brainfood


Blog post by Sarah Lange, Spring Intern

I can safely say there has not been a dull moment during my first week interning here at Brainfood. Between assisting with both Kitchen All Stars and Community MVPs classes, taking a peak at the Youth Garden (we’ve got chard and broccoli, everybody!), and seeing the MVPs in action at their first demonstration, I have gotten a taste (literally) of the awesome things going on at Brainfood---and this is just the beginning!

Making Stuffed Peppers

A guest post by weekly Kitchen All Stars assistant, Ellie Wigodsky

What’s a better way to end an unseasonably cold day than with a hearty meal of chicken and spinach meatballs, stuffed bell peppers with turkey sausage, or spicy chicken tacos? Last week at Brainfood students were challenged to cook with ground poultry. Each group braved the texture of the ground meat and created unique and delicious dishes that were full of flavors from around the world. My group made colorful red bell peppers stuffed with rice, spinach, ground turkey, Parmesan cheese, onion, spices and topped with breadcrumbs for a delicate crunch.

What did you do during Inauguration weekend? Me, I went to the White House….

I arose early on Saturday morning to bike out and meet six Brainfood MVPs who had been invited to decorate cookies that would be handed out by Mrs. Obama during a post-Inauguration open house. One by one, Simone, Keron, Nayion, Gerlena, Sylverline, and Yasmeen arrived at our meeting point outside of the McPherson Square metro station, bundled up and excited. After we made our way through the series of security gates, we were warmly greeted by executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses, who showed us around some of the back kitchens – we marveled at how tiny the spaces were, especially considering the quality and quantity of food they must no doubt produce on a regular basis, and discussed how our Brainfood kitchen was downright spacious by comparison! –then down to the room where we would be working on frosting, decorating, and individually packaging dozens upon dozens of beautiful White House cookies.

Tis the Season to...Celebrate!

As the year comes to an end and the holidays fall upon us, what better way to look back on all the great things we have accomplished then by having a party? On Wednesday, December 19th we did just that, by hosting our annual Brainfood Holiday Celebration.  And what a party it was!
The menu for the night was completely up to our students.  As Instructors, our only request was that each dish had to be homemade, by them! 


A Lesson on Respect

Blog post by Maeve Rafferty, Community MVPs Coordinator and instructor at Brainfood Mt. Vernon

I don’t like when they put me in a certain category, when they judge me for who I am with.

Or when they assume I don’t know something, just because I am young.

Knife Skills - a lesson for both the students and the teacher!


Blog Post by Nikki Allinson, Kitchen All Stars Instructor at Columbia Heights

The Kitchen All Stars program gives DC high school youth the opportunity to gain confidence in cooking difficult recipes. Each part of class – from the origin of our produce to the steps in the directions to how the food tastes – can hold meaningful lessons for our students.

Fall at Brainfood!

Blog post by Luisa Furstenberg-Beckman, Columbia Heights Kitchen All Stars instructor.

 Every year it seems like fall goes by in a flash. The leaves, the brisk air, the beautiful foliage arrive so quickly, not to mention the delicious seasonal foods: pumpkin, cinnamon, squash, sweet potatoes, and scrumptious baked goods!   

This fall at Brainfood, we have been cooking up a storm. Our Kitchen All Stars have been learning cooking from the ground up, starting with the basics: reading a recipe, measuring correctly, and learning about new kinds of kitchen equipment. After the first week we got into more exciting stuff: in our biscuit class, we used fresh sweet potatoes from the Brainfood Youth Garden to make sweet potato biscuits. YUM!! We learned that vegan food can be delicious (who knew?) when we made our vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes. We incorporated vegetables into baking, which shocked our students when we made delectable zucchini bread. 




Next week, our competitive spirits came out with our sandwich and pizza challenges. Students created their own signature sandwiches with the wacky, fun ingredients we provided, just as long as they used three different food groups and one ingredient they had never used before. Who knew that turkey bacon and nutella went together? We gave every sandwich shop in DC a run for its money with our original creations, and it was exciting to watch students explore their creative sides.



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