Bite of Brainfood Blog

The MVPs Returned on July 5th to Make Smoothies at Penn Quarter

This post contributed by Brainfood summer staffer, Julie Smith.

Da’Shia, Sudi and Armonte were back at it again on Thursday, July 5th for the MVPs second farmers’ market demo at Penn Quarter Fresh Farms Market. With the DC heat in full force, this time they came prepared to make something cool and refreshing: tofu berry smoothies! The smoothies are not only healthy and completely vegan, but they were also made with our very own human-powered bike blender. The bike blender was a fun way for everyone to get involved in making the smoothie.


The rest of the Brainfood staff also came by to participate in the workshop, as the Penn Quarter market is just around the corner from the Brainfood’s Chinatown office.  Amy and Cody both had a great time blending the smoothies on the bike.

Community MVPs Kick Off their Summer Farmers’ Market Workshops at Mt. Pleasant!

The Community MVPs are still in action this summer with a series of cooking demonstrations at local DC farmers’ markets. Following their graduation of the program in May, the MVPs are continuing their involvement with Brainfood by sharing some of their healthy recipes to farmers’ market customers.

Community MVPs – Da’Shia, George, Sudi, and Armonte – kicked off the summer workshop series on June 30th at the Saturday Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market. The friendly atmosphere at the vibrant Mt. Pleasant market provided a great environment to have the first summer demo.

Meet our Brainfood Summer Staffers!

Cody Dunitz, Summer Intern, is currently in her fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley, studying International Health and Development with a focus in Nutrition.  She grew up in Southern California and has been interested in nutrition and food justice for many years.  She loves food, cooking and working with young adults.  Before coming to Brainfood, Cody was a volunteer nutritionist for a Bay Area non-profit that specializes in food justice issues, and came to DC to work for Brainfood because she just couldn’t get enough!   



Khadijah Daniels is a DC native who attended Brainfood Summer Institute in 2007. Her experience at Brainfood lead her to explore food further, and is now pursuing a Food Science degree from Rutgers University.  She is happy to have found an area of study that combines her two favorite things: science and food!  She will be graduating in 2013 and hopes to pursue a career in Food Regulation or Food Product Development. Before joining the Brainfood staff, she worked as a student center building manager at her school. She loves cooking, drawing, trying new things, and being involved on campus. As a former student of Brainfood, she is very excited to be back this summer helping a new generation of youth to "cook, eat, learn and serve"!


Now We're Cooking! A Successful Week Two at Brainfood's Summer Institute

From guest blogger Cody Dunitz, Summer Intern...

It’s been a fun and delicious second week here in the Brainfood kitchen!  The blossoming new chefs of the Summer Institute program have been cooking up a storm, making tasty recipes from a zesty Asian Sesame Noodle Salad to quite a yummy Three Apple Crumble.  This week we focused on knife skills, and learned how to dice, slice, mince, julienne, batonette, and brunoise every fruit and vegetable in sight.  


Kemi's First Week @ Brainfood!

Guest Blogger: Kemi Sobowale

This week was my first week at Brainfood and I’m very excited to be working here this summer. I first learned about Brainfood and its mission to help high school age teens learn life skills through cooking through my school. I applied to do my practicum here and was luckily accepted into the organization. My goals for the summer are to help Brainfood develop a take home recipe guide as well as help review the way they evaluate their participants and target audience.

This summer I am working with the Community MVPs program, which is a program that takes graduates from the Brainfood program and trains them on how to develop and run local workshops. This summer they will be doing farmer’s market demonstrations around the city, which is a way for them to build their leadership skills as well as do some community outreach.

Summer update from Brainfood: Job opening, Farmers' Market Demos and our growing garden

This last year has been a busy one for Brainfood with piloting our new Community MVPs program, growing our program staff, and just weeks ago breaking ground on our new garden.

We are excited to share even more summer updates with you!

Brainfood Program Staff Updates

We wanted to share with you news that is both bittersweet and exciting: Amy Brady Daly, our fantastic program director for the past 5 years, will be taking position with the American Red Cross as the Manager of Youth Programs this July. Her last day with Brainfood will be Friday July 6th. Those of you who have worked with Amy know that she’s an outstanding youth advocate, and that the Red Cross has found an excellent leader in her.

With Amy’s departure in July, Carina Gervacio will be stepping into the role of Program Director at Brainfood. Carina has been working with Brainfood for 7 years leading both our Kitchen All Stars classes and this past year building our Community MVPs program from the ground up. She is an invaluable member of our Brainfood family and we are overjoyed to have her leading our program team moving forward! Congrats Carina!

Summer Institute 2012 Begins!!

After weeks of preparation we finally opened the doors on Monday, June 25th to this year’s Summer Institute participants!  We’ve got a full kitchen with an average of 25 students every day plus four staff members.  So far we have played lots of name games and ice breakers as well as completed kitchen scavenger hunts.  The students have proved their already developing cooking skills by turning out some delicious treats including:  oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, sweet potato biscuits and almost vegan chocolate chip pumpkin cupcakes.  We’ve made scrumptious breakfast recipes, Peter Paul pancakes, mushroom sausage quiche and crunchy granola bites.  To finish out the week we had a pizza extravaganza challenge!


Spotlight on an awesome Brainfood student!

Armonté Butler

Armonté started his tenure at Brainfood in the Columbia Heights kitchen in 2010.  After graduating from the Kitchen All Stars program he decided to continue on with Brainfood and joined our Community MVPs  pilot program.


                                   Armonté making a smoothie on Brainfood's bike blender!

Community MVPs First Ever Graduation Ceremony!!

I have to say, this has been one amazing year at Brainfood!  With the launch of our pilot program, Community MVPs, everyone has been on their toes and working hard.  Last week the MVPs program culminated with a wonderful, heartwarming graduation.  After leading seven healthy cooking workshops, teaching over 250 workshop participants, winning a youth grant from Youth Service America, donating food, learning about food access in DC and public speaking skills the MVPs students were honored by their friends and family for all their accomplishments.  Of course, the class very willingly prepared delicious, and healthy, food for the event including: tuna melt bruschetta, black bean veggie burgers with guacamole, spinach lasagna cupcakes, whole wheat spice cookies and, a class favorite, vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes!  


And the Chefs’ Challenge winners are…

During our Graduation event on May 17th, our Brainfood Kitchen All Stars got a chance to compete in our annual Brainfood Chefs’ Challenge (an Iron Chef style cook off). Students worked in teams to create 3 original dishes in 70 minutes.  These dishes were by tasted by our awesome panel of judges!

All 7 teams completed the Chefs’ Challenge and made delicious looking and tasting dishes. Ultimately the judges determined our top 3 teams (based on points for teamwork, cleanliness of works station, creativity, presentation and taste).


Congrats to our winning teams! Check out photos of our winning teams and their dishes...


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