Hello CulinaryCorps Friends and Supporters,
We’re back from Camp Sunshine! And what a camp-tastic week it was. The 2015 team hit the ground running for the third year in a row launching our custom World of Flavors cooking curriculum. They cooked side-by-side with over 200 campers and volunteers during the camp’s end-of-August oncology week. Our ten chef-volunteers worked hard to become diplomats of good food and fun, showcasing culinary lessons from around the globe.
It’s always our long-term goal that participating families gain the skills necessary throughout the week to create meals at home that balance health and wellness with taste and convenience. And from the family feedback we’ve received so far, our time was well spent. We are ecstatic to hear reports of quinoa at dinnertime and sushi-making parties on the weekend. We believe the “secret sauce” to our programming is the special brand of student engagement our chefs deploy: immersive, fun, hands-on and boundary challenging in the best of ways. It’s our goal that every single camper (from 2 to 92) participate in a recipe’s creation despite any limitations. This year, campers rolled out their own whole wheat-spinach pasta dough, pressed balls of corn masa to make tortillas, whisked eggs to frothy yellow perfection and cranked out mounds of shaved ice to make the Korean summertime treat, patbingsu. The sense of pride in these completed dishes was nearly palpable.
But perhaps the memories that linger the longest are the ones our chefs make when they let the goofiness loose. Our Foodie Olympics brought out just this kind of memorable silliness; Jell-O was tossed at (goggle-protected!) heads, marshmallows were launched into the stratosphere on supersized slingshots, and vegetable odds and ends were used to make beautiful art. Plus, at the end of the week, we encouraged the campers to stretch their newfound culinary muscles in our Third Annual Top Chef Sunshine. This year the challenge was to create a super summer salad, and boy oh boy, did they create some stunners.
We have so many people to thank for another amazing week. To everyone who donated on the behalf of our incredible chef-volunteer team, we appreciate every last dime. Seriously, every cent made us smile. Of course, our rock star sponsors (including the recently added Runaway Dish, an amazing charity pop-up supper club in Louisiana) are no slouches either. Every year we are surprised and delighted when a company steps up to support our work. Thank you HMart, International Culinary Center, ChefWear, and Ford. We could not have done this without you.
For those of you who would rather look at more purty pictures of the week, click on over to our Google photo feed. (Keep an eye out for Taco Matt, a fan favorite the whole week long.) Or if you crave a a slightly different take on the events, Aimee Bariteau, our wonderful Trip Leader, wrote a heartfelt recap of the week over on her blog, Warm up the Pan. First-time participant, Ali Waks-Adams, also captured the joyous intensity of a CulinaryCorps trip on her own blog, Our Maine Course. And for those of you who want some video action, our team was gifted a role in the teen group’s film recap of the week. We think they did an amazing job capturing the spirit of Camp Sunshine.
So here we are, at the end of this year’s trip, and once again we somehow cannot fully express how appreciative we are of the opportunity to turn food into something more than just fuel. For us, our classes are about making connections to our audience, our team, our foodways and ultimately, ourselves. Inevitably, every year it’s us–the chef-volunteers–that gain far more benefits from the trip than we ever bestow. We feel honored that Camp Sunshine and its campers welcomed us for another year of food, fellowship and profound insight. And we pledge to “cook it forward” as we re-enter our real lives in the kitchen…and beyond.
With our hearts full of love and thanks,
Christine Carroll, Executive Director and the 2015 CulinaryCorps Team