Bite of Brainfood Blog

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.



Food Day at Brainfood

October 24th was National Food Day.  Food Day ( is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Many events were scheduled in and around the DC area relating to the local and international food movement, food access and justice.  The main goal of Food Day is to strengthen the food movement to improve US food policies.  To celebrate Food Day, I decided to have a short discussion with the Chinatown classes to encourage our teens to add their opinions to the national food conversation.

Brainfood Grill Off 2012

By Brainfood Staffer Maeve Rafferty...

I believe we all crave to play, to work together, and maybe make a mess; maybe we’re all looking for a chance to get up out of our chairs and stuffy offices and create something, anything, brand new.

And if that something happens to be for a good cause? Even better. Our busy lives can make it difficult to find such outlets for creative expression, though the Brainfood Grill Off offers a space to do just that.

I remember hearing the logistics for the evening numerous times and feeling overly excited for the event, but also, I couldn't help from wondering: how such a thing could really happen?

You mean, teams are paired with a really talented local chef, who despite his or her expertise, can't really assist with the dish? And these dishes are made in one hour, with no recipe or prior knowledge of the ingredients provided, and then they’re judged? AND just to keep everyone on their toes, we throw a mystery protein in the mix too?


Bike Blender: Carrying Out the Brainfood Mission

By guest blogger, Julie Smith, Summer Intern

Our mission to promote healthy living has reached new levels with our bike blender! Not only are we making delicious and healthy recipes with the bike blender, but we are also incorporating exercise into our programing. It does it all: health, fitness, and fun.


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