Bite of Brainfood Blog

Looking Back at Brainfood: A Reflection

By Summer Institute Intern Hannah Johnston

 
       As I sit down to write a reflection on my time as an intern at Brainfood, I can barely believe that the summer has flown by so quickly. A large part of the joy I found during my internship was the way in which I was adopted so whole-heartedly into the Brainfood family. I was supported and encouraged every step of the way by a wonderful staff; Brainfood has been an ideal environment in which to grow and learn. From the detailed orientation to the regularly scheduled check-ins to the careful instructions provided at the start of each new task, Brainfood has taken care of me as an intern. Indeed, the emphasis placed on the importance of the interns’ work and experience at the organization has given me a taste of the self-confidence and sense of ownership over work that Brainfood does its best to instill in its students. 
 

Reflections On The Brainfood Way

By Samrawit Sisay

I've never had kale before. At least, before I got involved with Brainfood. I realize I haven't had a lot of things before getting involved with Brainfood, and everything turned out really well, despite that. Before getting involved with Brainfood, I was a bit apprehensive but also excited. On a rudimentary level, this program is about teaching kids basic cooking skills, and on another level, it is a youth development program that teaches skills that would not only help the kids in the kitchen but also in life outside the kitchen. But Brainfood is also about pushing boundaries: trying something you have never eaten before or might have thought was "nasty" (a word we should never use in a Brainfood kitchen), or even doing something you never thought you would do, like knead dough.

 

What Is the Secret Ingredient That Makes a Brainfood Student?

By Sarah Levant

After working with DC youth for two years, every day at Brainfood still surprises me (in a good way). A non-profit that focuses on youth development through cooking, gardening, and teambuilding activities, Brainfood engages students like no other nonprofit.

This summer Brainfood started a pilot program with high school students and graduates, called the Box Project. The Box Project has a CSA-style business model, (customers buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer) and teaches students about entrepreneurship, business, and customer service. The Brainfood Box project is unique because not only do customers receive weekly organic produce from the Brainfood garden, but they also receive beautifully themed boxes with Brainfood crafted meals. Ranging from Brainfood’s chocolate chip avocado cookies, to Brainfood’s signature hot sauce, Brainfood students continue to surprise their subscribers on a weekly basis.

1) A Dash of Personal Development

All In with Brainfood

By Tyrees Smith

It’s impossible to explain how fast the weeks have been passing by while interning with Brainfood. It is already mid-way through the program and I feel like I’m just getting started. In addition to all I’ve learned about the non-profit sector and youth development, I've also learned how to play a bit of poker in my off time. My love for this old card game borders on addiction now, and as a result I've recently been relating a lot of recent life experiences to poker. My first Brainfood blog post, and the experiences I’ve had working with students is no exception.

 

Thanks for the beautiful, fresh produce!

This summer, thanks to our generous friends at the Neighborhood Farm Initiative, Brainfood programs are getting more fresh, local food than ever before. Early on, we shared gorgeous salad greens from the Fort Totten garden site.

Beautiful NFI kohlrabi made an appearance in the Brainfood Box Project CSA shares recently. Lavender and mint made their way into the herbal lemonade in Brainfood’s first week at Takoma Academy’s Rising Tigers summer camp.

And more goodies are sure to show up on the menu at the Brainfood Summer Institute as the bountiful summer harvest season continues. Thank you, NFI staff and volunteers, for helping us to incorporate fresh, healthy ingredients while keeping our program costs down.

Brainfood: First Impressions

by: Brainfood Summer Institute Intern Hannah Johnston 

 

      I’ve only been an intern at Brainfood for two and a half weeks, and I’ve only been interacting with Brainfood’s students for a week and half. I haven’t been around long, and I’m still learning things each day, but one constant I’ve taken note of is the care with which the students who participate in this program approach various activities.

Win Tickets to The Brainfood Burger Battle!

 

On June 30th ten of DCs best chefs will face off for burger supremacy, and we’re giving you and a friend a chance to go FOR FREE (or you can purchase tickets). Sponsored by Brainfood and hosted by Poste Moderne Brasserie, guests will taste the best burgers in DC to determine who gets the Brainfood Burger Battle crown. We’ll also have plenty of beverages to wash them all down provided by Mad Fox Brewing, 3 Stars Brewing and Brewery Ommegang and Port City Brewing.

We are going to give two lucky winners a chance to take part in the burger event of the year by giving away two sets of tickets to the Burger Battle.

All you’ll need is an active twitter account, a burger, and a camera.

For Our Amazing Volunteers: A Potluck & An Appreciation

Brainfood, it seems, always starts and ends with circles.  On the first day of class, new Brainfood students take turns sharing their name, school, and favorite food, and after a full year of cooking and learning in our kitchens, we ask them to circle up for one final round of reflecting on what they’ll miss most about program.  Our weekly classroom assistants, too, first join us at orientation and circle up to hear more about what we do and what it means to be a part of the Brainfood community.  It was only fitting that last night, we honored our amazing classroom assistants with one last appreciation circle in the Youth Garden -- our way of thanking them for helping our classrooms and kitchens run each day.

Three Things I've Learned from Community MVPs

Can I tell you something?  I love celebrations.  I really do. 

I love any excuse to gather up lots of people, preferably around food, to delight in each other’s company, and if that food was made together, well gosh, even better! 

I whole heartedly believe we should, if possible, celebrate each and every day; because each one of us is doing something, be it big or small, that's worth jumping for joy about. 

Thank goodness for Brainfood, because we’re all about celebrations around here.  We’re all about singing the praises of our students, community partners, interns and staff whenever we can. 

Bittersweet Farewell - KAS Graduation

This past Thursday marked the end of the Kitchen All Stars 2013 program year.  It was an amazing year of laughs, food, and fun with a spattering of heart to hearts, spills and a couple bites of a little too “well browned” foods.  This is what makes working at Brainfood so great, being able to learn, grow and share with participants.  There is nothing better than spending 8 months cooking and getting to know Brainfood participants.  

The year ended with a bang as participants competed in an Iron Chef-style competition, Chef’s Challenge.  We had seven different teams from both sites compete to see who could showcase their skills in three innovative dishes.  Judges scored teams based on teamwork, creativity, presentation, cleanliness and taste. And the winners are:

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