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Friday, November 16, 2012

Teen Chefs on the Move! Offers FCPS Middle School Students Culinary Training

A group of 25 Frost Middle School students have been learning how to keep a chef’s knife sharp, identify locally-sourced food, and create roasted corn quinoa salad as they participate in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Teen Chefs on the Move! program. This after-school program is provided as part of the middle school after-school program at no cost to students during an eight week period. The last two classes of the semester are scheduled for Monday, November 19, and Monday, November 26.

Teen Chefs on the Move! is the result of a joint partnership between the FCPS Office of Food and Nutrition Services, the Middle School After-School Program, and the Nation’s Capital Chef’s Association.

During the program, students learn proper kitchen techniques, including correct handwashing, application of single-use gloves, causes of foodborne illness, and temperature danger zones. They use a black light to discover how hard it is to eliminate all dirt and germs from hands. Students are taught about the different types of knives and how specific knives are designed for particular tasks, the importance of keeping knives sharp and how to store them properly. Students learn how to hold a knife and perform various cuts, and how to cut vegetables. Measuring liquid and dry foods, common equivalents, and recipe conversion are also covered.

Part of the training includes information about the farm to school-plate-table movement and teaching students what qualifies as locally-sourced food. They also learn about the importance of whole grains, how to incorporate them into the diet, and how to cook them.

During the eight-week course, the students are tackling the following recipes: frozen fruit smoothie with fresh baby spinach, baked kale chips, fresh jicama and mango slaw, mini veggie pizzas, gazpacho, barley risotto, and fresh popcorn. 

Teen Chefs on the Move! was designed to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative, and it complements the FCPS Office of Food and Nutrition Services’ nutrition education efforts and partnership with the Nation’s Capital Chef’s Association.

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Note: For more information, contact Penny McConnell at 703-813-4800 or pemcconnell@fcps.edu .