Culinary Skills Crossover
We’re always looking for new ways to leverage our resources and expertise for the greater good. Earlier this month, we did just that. Our Nutrition and Community Education team joined Culinary Job Training students from classes 117 and 118 for a nutrition lesson.
Throughout the year, our Nutrition and Community Education team offers cooking demos and nutrition education lessons at Healthy Corners locations and partner agencies, including a special class at THEARC (also home of the new DC Central Kitchen Cafe). Most of the lessons include a hands-on cooking demo but, in this case, Becca, Nutrition and Community Education Coordinator, tailored her traditional lesson plan to the CJT students knowing that they spend much of their day with hands-on demos in the kitchen. Becca structured the class into three parts: a review of the MyPlate guidelines, demystifying nutrition labels, and healthy cooking at home. Throughout the lesson, the content was tied back to their training as chefs – designing a MyPlate compliant menu and thinking about how to be creative to make sure that your food tastes good and is good for you.
A typical nutrition education lesson ranges from 30 minutes to an hour, however, in this case, integrating this lesson into a Culinary Job Training day allowed a full two-hour lesson. With the extra time, the students were able to guide the conversation and talk about the nutrition-related topics that they are interested in such as GMOs and different dietary needs and how to prepare for them.
Becca and her team brought the lesson full circle by highlighting yet another DCCK program, Healthy Corners, as part of their conversation about smart shopping at home. Many of our students were not aware that the same organization facilitating their job training is also running social enterprises in our community to improve health outcomes and earn revenue that we can reinvest in our own programs.
The lesson proved valuable for both our students and the Nutrition and Community Education team. The students are now thinking differently about how to prepare delicious food, and how to do so with affordable, nutritious ingredients. And, Becca and her team learned how to customize a nutrition education lesson for a new audience that approaches shopping from a chef’s perspective. A win-win! Future lessons are already in the works and both teams are looking to expand the training to a larger internal audience of DCCK staff.