My Week with Growing Chefs!
Wow! What an amazing week with Growing Chefs! I was lucky enough to join three classes in week 6 of the Growing Chefs program. I had so much fun with each one, and it was great to see the differences in each one.
I started off the week in a Grade 5/6/7 class, where it was the day of their stir fry competition! In the last class the students created their own recipes, so this time the chefs showed up with bags full of the produce students had included on their lists. We got right down to business, and after a quick (but important) talk about sanitation and knife skills, the students broke off into their groups and got started prepping the veggies. I was impressed with how well all the groups worked together, dividing up tasks and making sure everyone had a chance with cutting the produce. Two students from each team came up to the front with a bowl to mix the dressing for their stir fry. Some of the students played it safe while others really got into it and tried some of the more adventurous options (fish sauce, yum!). Once the groups had assembled all the veggies, the chefs brought them up one at a time to cook up in the wok. The room was smelling delicious, and we quickly divided each dish onto separate plates so that each group could try some of their friends’ stir fry. The chefs and the teacher tried some of each stir fry as the judges, and boy were they delicious! Each group got an award, from most adventurous to most colourful, and the students all got a little treat at the end to celebrate their hard work.
Thursday and Friday I got to see two primary classes, as we cooked up a pea soup and stir fry all together. The first class at Champlain Heights had a garden that did pretty well, so the students were all so excited to pick the beans and peas to contribute towards their meal. They each got a turn cutting some of the vegetables, as the others washed, picked and ripped up the rest of the ingredients! We all gathered around the wok to watch Chef Shane cook up the meals. The students got a little of both, and the verdict was…. delicious! really good! yum! .. all the students seemed to enjoy both! It was so nice to be part of such a fun and welcoming class. The students were all so excited and welcoming to an outsider like me. Chief Maquinnawas just as fun, with a small class, but no less enthusiastic! Both classes were a blast, and it was really great to see that young students are just as capable of being involved in the prep and cooking aspect of their meals. It was also interesting chatting with a few students individually to see how much they cook at home, and what they help prepare with their parents.
I had so much fun over the last week, and wish I could have seen more! The best part was seeing how enthusiastic the students were about their recipes and trying all of the veggies. I honestly didn’t even hear once “I don’t like that,” and it was encouraging to see students be adventurous with their choices of recipes. I am taking away so much new knowledge from this experience, and hope that one day I can have Growing Chefs be a part of my classroom!
– Marcelle Poulain