Sustainable Culinary Arts Training Comes to Treasure Island
Nextcourse has joined with 5 Keys Charter School in an exciting project aimed at helping men and women in residential substance abuse treatment programs rebuild their lives through high school educational classes and culinary arts training. This unique partnership provides Walden House and Haight Ashbury Free Clinic residents with an opportunity to obtain high school diplomas and culinary arts training while completing treatment programming. These individuals have already made a serious commitment to their sobriety and recovery by enrolling in intensive inpatient programs lasting as long as 18 months. Our added educational and vocational training will boost their chances of finding meaningful and long lasting employment when transitioning back into the community.
The project is operating out of the Treasure Island Elementary School and includes a half day each of academic classes and culinary training, 5 days per week. The on-site cafeteria, which has been dormant since the school closed as a public elementary school 2 years ago, is currently undergoing a functional facelift to make it workable as a teaching and small production kitchen. Our HUGE thanks to Glide Memorial Church-our school site partner-for helping us with the kitchen overhaul.
The most unique aspect of this culinary arts initiative is that the training curriculum originates from a sustainable foods perspective. Before ever picking up a knife or whisk, students will be trained in fundamental concepts of how food moves from farm to plate, and the community, environmental and health differences between conventional vs. sustainable food systems. Our first class started on October 1st has already explored the conditions of migrant farm workers and the environmental footprint of industrial beef. As these students go on to work as cooks, waiters, and elsewhere in the food services industry, they will have the training and knowledge to be stewards of a healthier and sustainable food system.
Our new culinary arts project has a shoestring budget and we are looking for a few equipment items in good working condition. We need an electric stove, refrigerator and/or freezer, commercial grade food processor and blender. Please email email@example.com if you think you can help.
An Evening to Remember
Nextcourse was honored to partner with Orson Restaurant as part of Slow Food Nation’s Slow Dinner Series over Labor Day weekend. Orson owner and visionary Elizabeth Falkner is a well-respected sustainable food champion, and has been a Nextcourse friend since our inception. Our Slow Dinner was generously supported by great friends at Veritable Vegetable who have been helping us this past year provide fresh, local food to women enrolled in our nutrition education program at the Women’s Reentry Center
At the initial dinner planning conversation we articulated a vision to connect dinner guests in a rich and meaningful way to the work that happens in Nextcourse’s sustainable food educational programs. Together with two of our standout Mission High students, David Barrientos and Anususya Mukherjee, we went about organizing The Making of a Meal, which was to be both our evening’s educational theme and the focus of a short film capturing Chef de Cuisine Ryan Farr and our eager students talking with local farmers and purchasing dinner ingredients at the Alemany Farmers’ Market.
On this evening our guests were privileged to witness the importance of sustainable food education thanks to these young students, enjoyed the most amazing meal thanks to the talented Chef Farr, and experienced the greatest hospitality thanks to Team Orson. The success of Making of a Meal was a true collaborate effort, so there are others we wish to thank: Pikake Foundation, Chronicle Books, Broc Cellars, and Rhum Clement.
To meet our students and the dedicated farmers who provided our delicious and seasonal produce, view The Making of a Meal here.
Mission High Culinary Leadership Team Begins Training!
Nextcourse’s new Culinary Leadership Team is growing food leaders at Mission High School by training students to teach their peers about healthy food choices. And our team is off to a sizzling start with 6 junior and senior students joining this semester’s team to cook for change. Starting in November these enthusiastic students will be teaching their freshman and sophomore colleagues about new ingredients, cooking techniques and food systems.
To prepare for their task, Culinary Team members are undergoing an intensive training program that includes after school cooking lessons, tastings and a field trips. Each member of the team brings his or her own unique quality to the project. All have demonstrated strong leadership skills and a passion for new foods. Many come from cooking backgrounds and have an interest in nutrition. Others are just beginning their foray into the rich and exciting world of food and cooking.
Every Monday they get together in the Mission High School kitchen to hone their culinary skills and learn about aspects of nutrition and food production. During the class, students have savored heirloom tomato varietals in salad and buschetta recipes; they have tried their hand at preserving by making their own sauerkraut; and they have explored grains such as spelt and quinoa. On Columbus Day, students took a trip to Alemany Farm where they learned about sustainable agriculture and lent a hand with field chores. Go Team!!