On Tuesday July 15th MASBHC observed a session of the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) sponsored Cook Smart Culinary Boot Camp 2014 at Oxon Hill High School. MSDE partners with the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation (RAMEF) and four Maryland school systems to provide a one week refresher course for school nutrition professionals all over Maryland. The Culinary Boot Camps objective is to reinforce kitchen skills as well as spark creativity among attendees to create flavorful, nutritious school menu items.
The purpose of the Cook Smart Boot Camp is for a team of school nutrition professionals from all over Maryland to work with local chefs to develop new and healthy menu items, enhance skills in knife cutting techniques, food presentation and food product management. With these skills, school nutrition professionals will be able to prepare more menu items from scratch that meet USDA nutritional guidelines. The week-long culinary boot camp starts with chef demos, followed by skills practice by the participants. Topics covered during the course include knife techniques, seasoning and flavoring, vegetable preparation, product planning, and production labs. All the demos and lectures are led by local chefs. The boot camp serves as a great refresher on proper skills and techniques. Many of attendees at the Oxon Hill Culinary Boot Camp have been working as school nutrition professionals for many years and were still able to take away new skills and techniques from just the second day of the boot camp.
MSDE will hold five Cook Smart culinary boot camps this summer; one in each of the following counties: Queen Anne’s County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, Worcester County, and Charles County.
MSDE’s Cook Smart Culinary Boot Camps are made possible by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA). For more information on MSDE’s Boot Camps visit their website. For more information on HHFKA, visit USDA’s HHFKA website.
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