November 2011: The Trip Details


New Orleans, Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


November 10 – 14, 2011

Volunteer Team:

This trip is comprised of chefs from all over the nation as well as Canada. They are all professionally trained cooks and in a new program for the organization, are also all previous CulinaryCorps participants. As for current employment, some are working in restaurants, others as private chefs. Some have Cheap Oakley Sunglasses written cookbooks or have launched “underground restaurants” while others do food education in their own communities. Others are professional culinary instructors while one is currently cooking in the most southern cafe in the world, McMurdo Station, Antarctica.


Thursday, November 11: Edible Schoolyard New Orleans

This day is packed! We have created three separate events that will target different populations within the FirstLine charter school family.

First, we will be rocking out some amazing off-the-cuff cooking with 60 seventh grade students at Green Charter in their 5th annual Iron Chef Competition. This is a program that CulinaryCorps created for the school during our first trip in 2007! We’ll once again join in on the fun to see whose cuisine will reign supreme. And no, we do no know the secret ingredient!

In the afternoon, we will be working with the team of Firstline School cafeteria workers to help them with their ambitious transition into from-scratch cooking. Our two-hour “cafeteria training bootcamp” will focus on the the importance of presentation in the school cafeteria. Our mantra for the day is that “we eat with our eyes.” Throughout the event, we will be working side-by-side with the cafeteria employees to recreate their lunch dishes while teaching basic batch cookery processes, efficient knife skills, and creative garnishing. The end goal is to have the food looking as good as it tastes.

And finally, we head off to Dibert Elementary where we will be launching “The Curious Case of the Missing Food Pyramid” for students and their parents.  CulinaryCorps designed the 2-hour curriculum around the new USDA “My Plate” initiative and as students and parents cook their way through a series of 8 hands-on cooking stations, they will begin to solve mystery. By the end of the event, families will have been introduced to dozens of new ingredients and a handful of fast, fresh, healthy, and inexpensive recipes they can make at home.

Friday, November 11th and Saturday, November 12th: The Boys and Girls Club of The Gulf Coast

CulinaryCorps will be spending two days with the Boys and Girls Club in Pass Christian, an area of the state hard hit by both Hurricane Katrina as well as the BP spill. Over the course of this past year, CulinaryCorps has been tasked with designing and writing an 8-week after-school cooking club for the facility entitled Cooking at the Club.

During our visit we will be helping to officially launch the program. We will be spending two days with them, the first hosting a “VIP Cooking Class” that will bring the curriculum to life for a group of funders and supporters. The second day we will be the Cheap Oakleys headliners for a community-wide launch event, cooking the recipes within the curriculum in a Food Network-style show then serving the finished dishes to our audience, answering questions and having fun along the way. By the end of our stay, we hope to educate over 300 community members and garner lots of great press (and student support) for the new program!

Sunday, November 13th: Real Food Gulf Coast

We will once again be working with Real Food Gulf Coast on creating a second after-school cooking program entitled Grow.Cook.Dine for the community of Moss Point. This will be a chance for us to build a program together from the ground up. We will shop, test, and discuss the recipes to be included and then sample them to a community panel made up of funders, supporters, and potential students. We will also be working with their strategic partner, The Pascagoula River Audubon Center, to learn about the wild foods available in the area. After our foraging trip in the morning, we will be turning our wild finds into working recipes for the cooking club curriculum.


In addition to the projects, we will also be spending time discussing the vision for the organization with our chef volunteers as well as each participant’s potential for leadership in the organization and their own communities. And as we do during all our trips, we make sure our participants learn about the local foodways so as to be voice boxes for the communities when they return home.

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