Below is the day-to-day summary of our magical week at Camp Sunshine during the camp’s oncology/hematology week from July 5-11, 2014. Many thanks to our leadership team and chef-volunteers for taking the time to capture such a wonderful whirlwind of a trip.
(And for those of you who would also like a visual tour of the week, hop on over to our photo gallery to view the fun!)
Day 1: Test Your Taste Buds
It felt great to be back in our lemon-yellow Camp Sunshine volunteer shirts! After a series of orientation lectures and tours, the CulinaryCorps crew inventoried all the equipment stored on site since our last trip. Bowls, bamboo steamers and flag banners all found their way back to our outdoor pop-up culinary classroom, aka: kitchen stadium.
As evening rolled around, the entire team trotted out on stage to introduce this year’s World of Flavors program to the campers. Then we were off to the races as the families joined us for our new and approved Test Your Taste Buds challenge. This event helps campers identify some of the key ingredients would be used throughout our World of Flavors curriculum. For our ingredient line-up this year, we threw in a few surprises including multi-colored quinoa and dark brown buckwheat honey which many people guessed was molasses. One camper even wrote in Pine Sol after smelling freshly grated ginger.
The best part about having the entire camp participate in this event was that it was fun to see new and old campers alike. And what a camper crowd it was! There were over 122 kids and 40 adults in attendance this year, a definite increase in number from last year.
We are SO excited you are here. I was praying for CulinaryCorps to come back to our session!
One teen in the group talked to us excitedly about his new culinary high school. Another mentioned that he would never forget ginger after taking a big bite (accidentally) out of a knob of it during last year’s Test Your Taste Buds event. And another told us that her favorite food is sushi. We definitely are in the right crowd! But perhaps the proudest moment of our first day was when we saw last year’s Golden Rolling Pin mounted in a place of honor on the wall of the newly refurbished cafeteria. It was a sight to behold. We were definitely motivated to get the week started.
Day 2: A Dinner in Rome
This year we returned to the “boot” and once again made homemade, whole-wheat pizzas and our now infamous Panzanella salad. Campers got to watch the whole-wheat dough being made from scratch and were able to both roll and top a pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. Once assembled, the plate-sized beauties were put in the camp’s outdoor wood-burning oven to get golden brown and crisp.
The second station was all about arcobaleni, or rainbows in Italian, but not in the sky, on the plate! Fresh veggies of all shapes, colors and sizes were chopped to include a beautiful Italian salad called panzanella. The central ingredient, day-old whole wheat bread, was diced and sautéed in olive oil. While the sautéing was left to the chefs, the campers got to practice their very own chef wrist flip using a sauté pan and rice, a great way to practice with less pressure since a missed flip won’t ruin your meal.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce in, we’re freezing!
After shaking their dressing to a tune made popular last trip, campers finally got to use their knife skills to chop the lettuce that would finish the dish.
We were also able to talk to several returning families from last year. They were thrilled to have their children (and themselves) re-engage with our programming. When queried about repeating the recipes and if this would negatively impact they fun they said
I’ll put it like this. They would be excited if it was all new recipe. They would be equally excited if it was the same recipes. Either way, they can’t wait to cook!
In fact, they told us that rumors of the fantastic “CulinaryCorps week” were spreading throughout the Camp Sunshine community and many families were requesting to come to the session we were assigned to. What a wonderful compliment!
That night, while prep for the next day was happening in the kitchen, our chefs got to show off their dance moves at the camp’s masquerade. Was there some salad dressing shaking happening that evening? You bet! Many thanks Ellen, a 2013 chef-volunteer, for instituting the tradition. While the dance was in full swing, CulinaryCorps was working behind the scenes. In order to ensure our classes are “camper ready” (read: easy to do and teach in only 45-minutes) our chefs use the cafeteria after hours to prep for the following day. While the rest of the volunteers are headed off to bed, CulinaryCorps may be making a big batch of homemade tomato sauce, cutting square dumpling wrapper into rounds or grating mounds of carrots. We’ve learned that an ounce of prevention prep is worth its weight in gold.
Day 3: A Lunch in Tokyo
Day three started bright and early with the team getting our kitchen classroom ready for five classes to travel to Japan. Starting with the 6-8 year olds, our first team made edamame gyoza – teaching the four simple steps of dumpling making via rap:
Step 1: Can I get a scoop scoop?
Step 2: Can I get a dip dip?
Step 3: Can I get a fold fold?
Step 4: Can I get a pinch pinch?
The next group continued our rainbow theme with veggie sushi rolls – spinach, green beans, avocado, grated carrots, red peppers, purple cabbage – and even the option to include smoked salmon. Even the counselors were able to share the camper’s sushi rolls – with one even admitting that she and a few other counselors grabbed some of the uneaten pieces and saved them in their room to snack on later in the week.
Anyone know what tofu is? –I know, meat!
After breaking down our last class, our team immediately started prepping for our first ever evening class for the volunteers. This additional class event was our way of saying “thank you” to all of the volunteers who help us run our classes as smoothly as possible – making sure that the campers hands are washed, aprons on, keeping all of the campers hydrated in the eighty-degree sunshine, cleaning up after our family meal and in general, making our lives easier.
The volunteer class was to start in the dining room after the talent show. While we expected to start at 9pm, the talent show went a little long with “Let It Go” renditions so we didn’t get started until 9:30pm. The delay didn’t deter our team of chefs or the 45 volunteers eager to roll their own sushi. In addition to the veggie sushi rolls, Chef Shin taught the volunteers something entirely new to our programming– Korean rice balls. And thanks to a generous donation from HMart, the campers were able to sample some tasty Korean snacks including assorted banchan – kimchee, sesame greens and lotus root in soy sauce – as well as crispy treats like Korean popcorn, sweet potato crisps, and finally, sesame cookies. Once all of the sushi rolls were cut and the rice balls finished, all of the volunteers got a great late night snack – family style – but not without helping us clean up the dining room afterwards (after all, we are all volunteers).
While Chefs Shin, Celia, Dantee, Margot and Christine were teaching the volunteers, the rest of the team was on dishwashing and prep duty. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t have some fun of their own! Our Three Tenor Chefs – Chefs Thomas, Rusty and Mat–accompanied their hard work with (very) tuneful renditions of Billy Joel and Bon Jovi’s greatest hits as well as half of the soundtrack from Grease.
After our team of chefs finished up in the kitchen, including making 4 gallons of Jell-O, we immediately got into some arts and crafts, making signs for the following day’s Family Foodie Olympics. After we were done with our arts and crafts project, everyone just kept on hanging out and enjoying each other’s company, despite being bone tired.
Day 4: A Breakfast in Mexico and 2nd Annual Family Foodie Olympics
Once again, Day 4 started off bright and early with a three consecutive classes after breakfast. As arguably the most popular dish from last year, the repeat campers were looking most forward to our trip to Mexico. Old and new campers alike were eager to get their hands on the tortilla presses.
After splitting the campers into two teams, one side made our patented “guac in a bag” and cheesy scrambled eggs with chorizo while team two made black bean and corn salsa and of course, pressed fresh corn tortillas. We also introduced a new exercise, the “Tortilla Press”, by emphasizing that physical activity is just as important as a healthy diet. You hold a tortilla press over your head and squat (until we tell you to stop!)
You guys are THE BEST cooks.
After lunch, while the campers had their family time, our team got ready for the Second Annual Family Foodie Olympics. This was a chance for families to get messy, get shaking, and go fishing, donut fishing that is.
- Butter Up was a tasty game that got families shaking heavy cream until butter was made. We offered bread on the spot so people could slather and try their creation and after one taste, many families took their butter back to their room to enjoy later.
- Hello Jell-O was a rousing success once again. All the kids were excited to throw the neon jiggly stuff at their parents’ heads (with the goal of getting it into the container, of course).
- Donut Fishing was a new game this year and got campers trying eat a hanging donut without their hands while blindfolded. They (usually) got the sweet treat at the end.
- Chef Egg was the most photographed event of the afternoon with parents taking pictures of their kids in chef whites, aprons and hats. Even the chefs got into the action, with a special round of Chef Egg using plastic teaspoons.
- Finally, everyone got to Count the Carrots, a healthier alternative to last year’s “gumball guess” that had campers guessing how many baby carrots could cram into a giant jar.
Everyone had a blast! And after wrapping up another successful Family Foodie Olympics, our Korean rice ball makers – Chefs Shin, Celia and Margot – made another hundred rice balls as a special appetizers for the special Parents’ Dinner. Our team was invited to mingle with the parents during their social hour which was a nice way to reconnect with families from last year as well as meet the new ones.
Day 5: Top Chef Sunshine
The morning certainly started off right with Rusty, of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee, leading a special parents-only coffee tasting class. A few lucky parents got to take home coffee samples but the entire camp also made out that morning since Rusty was brewing up enough joe for all. Hooray for caffeine!
But now on to the most anticipated event of the week. With the secret ingredient in place, whole wheat orzo, each age-group was split into four teams to design and create a unique dish. The dishes were judged by an esteemed panel of individuals (including a special guest from the Institute of Culinary Education, the event’s sponsor) on Taste, Presentation, Creative, and most importantly, Teamwork. The judges tasted salads and soups, even orzo dumplings, and were impressed with the array of dishes the campers concocted in a little over 20 minutes.
Each age-group had an overall winner for the coveted “Treat Trophy” with the overall winning team being announced at the final “Golden Rolling Pin” ceremony later that night. After the cuisines reigned supreme, the chefs quickly cleared away the Top Chef set up to get ready for our final parent’s class, a relaunch of yesterday’s Mexico breakfast. With over 40 adults, they were as eager as the kids to get their hands on the homemade tortillas.
As a final note, we take the “One Bite Club” very seriously here at CulinaryCorps but we are pleased to announce that every camper who came through our class is now a bona fide member. We were also pleased to see that no one “yucked a yum” throughout the entire five classes, including the adults who are sometimes our biggest offenders.
But who won this year’s Top Chef Sunshine competition? Who are now the proud (honorary) owners of the coveted Golden Rolling Pin? We’re pleased to announce that The Terrific Twos, an all-girl team made up of 6-8 year olds, took home the top prize with their creative take on orzo salad. And to wrap the week up, we had a few special guests take the stage to recap the week for the campers. See below for a trio of very good sports.
Day 6: Ask a Chef
On the final morning of camp, several CulinaryCorps chefs set up a booth where campers and parents (and volunteers too) could come and ask any last-minute cooking questions, pick up any recipes they may be missing, or just say goodbye. We were thrilled so many people decided to stop by to say thank you so that in turn we could thank them! Anyone who was not manning the table was cleaning, sorting, organizing, cataloging and storing our kitchen items for next year. It was bittersweet to see it all go back into storage knowing that another amazing week had come to a close but that our next one was lying in patiently in wait until we return next year.
You have put together an exceptional team of professionals that are engaging, personable and fun!! Their desire to share their craft with our camp families and their sincere concern for others shines through. We are deeply appreciative of all your efforts and the teams efforts and embrace our partnership.
Hello CulinaryCorps Friends,
Last summer, we landed on the shores of Lake Sebago with a small binder of lesson plans and a big can-do attitude. We can create a pop-up outdoor cooking classroom using a speed rack, a wood burning oven and our imagination. We can teach toddlers to adults how to make dough, roll sushi, press a tortilla, and chop properly. We can create a culinary program so entertaining it competes with the rock climbing, kayaking, mini-golfing and (of course!) video gaming for the hearts and minds of our campers. And we can put good food on every plate and a smile on every face for those who are dealing with the reality of cancer each and every day.
Our attitude paid off. When we departed one week later, we not only enriched the camp experience, we evolved our organization too. At its core, our 2013 Camp Sunshine trip was an experiment in sustainability. Our aim was to bring the same program to the same place at just about the same time to see if it would have the same (if not more) impact a second time ’round. Happily, we proved this hypothesis to be true. What we discovered is that a some-what predictable structure eliminates the first-timer chaos. Instead of figuring it out for the very first time, we connected on a deeper level with the campers, with each other, with the work that we do. Of course, this does not mean the amazing improvisational moments of a trip went out the window, for indeed those are what make our trips as impactful as they are memorable.
It’s clear we had a stellar team led by an equally stellar Trip Leader, Aimee Bariteau. She is the most qualified Trip Leader our organization has the pleasure of welcoming, and incidentally she is also the first Trip Leader (besides Christine Carroll, the founder) who has filled the role. With five trips under her belt, she defines what it means to be a CulinaryCorps chef. Knowing the trip was in such good hands—that each and every one of our chef-volunteers was unabashedly bringing their talents, energy and wisdom to the table—made all the difference in the world. We are lucky to call them all alums.
We are also lucky to have an amazing team of donors, supporters and sponsors. Every one of you (and if you have read this far you are certainly one of them!) means a tremendous deal to our organization. Thank you for helping us fill the “happiness well” for every camper, sibling and parent at Camp Sunshine, for these are the memories they will turn to throughout the year when their taps are running dry.
We look forward to continuing our global adventure at Camp Sunshine in the years to come. Until then, feel free to browse our trip’s photo gallery or read our daily recaps. And definitely read through the metrics below. It’s the closest we can come to capturing the magical moments we shared this year with the families, staff and volunteers of Camp Sunshine, all of whom we consider our heroes.
With all our thanks,
Christine Carroll and the 2014 CulinaryCorps Team
ps: Take a peek at our awesome Trip in Numbers!
Meet our team of chef-volunteers for our 2014 Camp Sunshine trip!
Aimee Bariteau hails from Boston. A six-year breast cancer survivor, she is also an active volunteer and Model of Courage for Ford Warriors in Pink. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, this will mark Aimee’s fourth trip with the organization, and second as its Trip Leader.
Thomas Medrow started out in the finance world but made a career change when his passion for food could no longer be ignored. A founding board member of CulinaryCorps, he is also the chef de cuisine of the Diamond Club and commissary at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Phillies. This marks his fifth trip with the organization and his fourth as part of the Trip Leadership team.
Jessica Botta resides in Washington DC where she is director of culinary development for Chef Fabio Trabocchi. Jessica taught Italian cuisine at the International Culinary Center and has appeared on Iron Chef America where she competed with Chef Cesare Casella. This marks Jessica’s fourth trip as a CulinaryCorps team member and her third as part of our Trip Leadership team.
Dantee Arias is the Sous Chef and Kitchen Manager at Google Chicago where he feeds more than 500 Googlers based on nutrition guidelines of mindful and healthy eating from the Harvard Food Pyramid. An ex-line cook in some of Chicago’s most unique restaurants, he plans on pursuing a career in food research.
Christine Ranieri is a research dietitian and instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she coordinates a diet and cardiovascular health study and teaches nutrition and disease-specific cooking classes to nutrition students. Previously, Christine was a caterer and even delivered homemade soups by bicycle.
Rusty Obra hails from Bergen County, New Jersey where he is an Instructor in Culinary Arts at Westwood Regional High School. Rusty is a former opera singer and imbibes in his fair share of amazing coffee since his family owns and operates a coffee plantation in Hawaii.
Margot Greenwald lives in New York City and works as a line cook at Riverpark Restaurant on the East River where she enjoys harvesting from the restaurant’s urban farm. Margot loves teaching and working with kids, and she hopes to take her career into the New York City Public School system.
Celia Lam studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and believes in the healing power of food. She teaches holistic cooking classes and will be launching culinary wellness retreats. Celia splits her time between her home in Canada and NYC, where she was guest chef for “Salvage Supperclub.”
Shin Kim teaches recreational Korean cooking classes and works for the catering company Abigail Kirsch in New York City. In her spare time Shin translates Korean TV shows. She has starred in her own online cooking show “Cooking with Shin” that highlights dishes featured in those shows.
Mathieson Jennings oversees food production at eight restaurants in the San Francisco Airport. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Mat is passionate about sharing his love for food and sustainable practices with others, including his new Berkeley, CA farm-t0-pizza café.
We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of wonderful and slightly offbeat fundraising events over the years, from our Cold Brew coffee stand at Farm Aid; to our highly-competitive gumbo cook-off; to a “gourmet all-you-can-eat nacho bar” extravaganza hosted by two of our alums in Chicago. However, gathering, cooking and serving what others have already thrown away (or are about to) is an idea that never crossed our mind. Until this week!
Celia Lam, a recent Natural Gourmet Institute graduate and current chef-volunteer for our 2014 trip, recently hosted a “Dumpster Dine” in Brooklyn serving her guests an incredibly complex vegetarian meal from perfectly great ingredients (that just happened to find their way into the trash.) Eighteen guests dined al fresco in a specially constructed outdoor dining table crafted from a (scrubbed clean!) dumpster. With hanging bulb lights and green tea lights for ambiance, the overall effect was transporting as well as though-provoking. Just how much perfectly good food do we throw away each day? What can we all be doing to make sure the food we buy is put to good use? Best of all, the proceeds from this Salvage Supperclub event will be donated to CulinaryCorps. A win for the environment, a win for the diners and a win for us too. All in all, a perfect night, even it was spent in an oversized trash can.
Credit: Salvage Supperclub
This year we have been lucky to have a wonderfully supportive team of Corporate Sponsors to help fund our 2014 outreach trip to Camp Sunshine. We are incredibly thankful for their generous contributions. So if you are looking for chef clothing or cooking utensils, coffee or Korean foods, or even a culinary school, please look no further than this amazing group of donors:
Warriors in Pink powered by Ford
2014 marks Ford Motor Company’s 20th year in the fight against breast cancer. In honor of this benchmark, Aimee Bariteau, our fearless 2014 Trip Leader, was chosen as a Ford Model of Courage. We cannot think of a better choice! In her role, she was able to engage Warriors in Pink to be a major contributor to our Camp Sunshine programming. Not only are they making a generous donation but they are donating hats, t-shirts, bandanas and aprons to hand out to volunteers and campers. Ford has donated over $125 million towards the fight against breast cancer and those championing the cause. We are honored to be a part of their mission for 2014. For your chance to win the most awesome Ford Fusion ever, click on over to Warriors in Pink and join the conversation.
The International Culinary Center
The ICC has been a faithful backer of CulinaryCorps since its inception and this year is no different. It is, however, even better! ICC is generously sponsoring our Top Chef Sunshine competition and sending along an expert judge, Amanda Cann, to weigh-in on the final dishes. We are excited to be honoring a loved one close to the ICC family as part of this event by adding Swedish Fish to the brown bag of secret ingredients.
Some may say that the uniform doesn’t make the chef, the chef makes the uniform but in our mind, it’s a little bit of both. Once again, we’ll be donning sharp-looking chefs coats thanks to ChefWear.
This year we are adding a new event to our programming by offering an evening class for the camp’s volunteers. These are the people that power Camp Sunshine throughout the year and we thought they deserved some culinary love too. Luckily, HMart stepped up to the plate to sponsor a “Taste of Korea” event that includes a sampling of traditional Korean foods and ingredients along with a hands-on cooking class of Korean Rice Balls led by several members of our chef-volunteer team.
When Culinary Depot connected with us earlier this year to help fund the trip, we were touched by their unexpected generosity. Their donation will help to fund trip logistics such as car rentals, housing and meals for our chef-volunteer team. Culinary Depot sells and installs kitchen equipment that dreams are made of and is the industry leader in catering restaurant supply.
From restaurants, to food trucks, to farmers markets, swiping a card has become the easy way to get good food. BluePay, an all-in-one credit card processing company, is leading the field in merchant credit card processing solutions for clients big and small. They have strong ties to the restaurant community and wanted to help give back through support of our Camp Sunshine efforts.
The Natural Gourmet Institute
NGI is one of the leading institutions offering both professional and public cooking courses in health supportive culinary arts and theory. We have been incredibly fortunate to have recruited talented NGI graduates to be chef-volunteers over the years! Later this summer, the proceeds from their student-cooked Friday Night Dinner will be donated to our organization. The dinner will take place on Friday, August 15, 2014 at 7pm. The menu is TBD but we’ll be sure to spread the word when tickets are available.
In a restaurant, there are few things more critical than an open line of communication between the serving staff and the kitchen. Without it, orders come out wrong, guests are unhappy and the restaurant loses money. To avoid these scenarios, BePoz has created a fully functional and high-quality point of service (POS) software for restaurants. It rocks! And quite frankly, so do they.
Rusty’s Hawaiian: 100% Coffees, Inspired by a Love Story
With the Chef Alan Wong stamp-of-approval, Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee has nearly perfected the craft of growing and roasting premium beans. We are lucky to not only be welcoming the owner’s son, Rusty Obra, back onto the CulinaryCorps team this year but also sipping some Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee at camp. Plus, Rusty will be leading a coffee education class for the parents on Thursday morning. Talk about a great way to start your day!
Stonewall Kitchen has been jarring the essence of Maine since 1991. Their Wild Maine Blueberry jam is practically legend but since their inception, the have become a watershed of delectables. They are big supporters of Camp Sunshine! And if you happen to be in York, Maine this summer, definitely check out their ever-expanding roster of cooking classes at the Stonewall Cooking School.
Hello CulinaryCorps Friends and Supporters,
The excitement is building as we head into the final weeks before our trip to Camp Sunshine. We cannot wait to return to launch our World of Flavors cooking program, and we’re diligently checking off our to-do list:
- Have we assembled an incredible team of chef-volunteers chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants? You bet!
- Did we design an informative, engaging and fun cooking curriculum that will take the campers and their families on a culinary journey around the globe? Heck yea!
- Do we have an amazing group of campers, parents, siblings and volunteers lined up to cook with us during Camp Sunshine’s July 5th-11th oncology/hematology session. Check and Check!
- Do we have all the necessary ingredients and equipment? Of course we….uh, wait…we actually don’t.
$2,400 in 24 days: That’s about how much our ingredient and equipment budget will run and how many days left until we land on the shores of Lake Sebago.
Any amount you can contribute to help us meet this goal is win for our program. Your donation will allow our campers to drape thick slices of fresh mozzarella onto handmade pizzas or roll sheets of shiny nori into colorful veggie sushi. More importantly, your contribution is sure to put many smiles on many faces. And in a world full of hospital visits and doctor’s advisories, those smiles may just be worth their weight in caviar.
Thank you for your donation!
Christine Carroll, Executive Director
The CulinaryCorps 2014 Trip Leadership Team
ps: Speaking of smiles, the Amazon Smile program is allocating a bonus $5 donation to CulinaryCorps from today through Sunday for any purchase made via this link. This is in addition to the regular .5% donation on each purchase made via this portal throughout the year. Thanks for shopping on behalf of CulinaryCorps!
CulinaryCorps is excited to announce that we will be returning to Camp Sunshine for our 2014 outreach trip. A year-round facility on Maine’s Lake Sebago, Camp Sunshine has been supporting children with life-threatening illnesses and their families for over 30 years. We feel so lucky to have been a part of the magic that happened there last summer; and we are honored to be invited to return.
The selected 10 person chef-volunteer team will once again launch our World of Flavors cooking program during the camp’s July 5th-11th oncology/hematology session. This CulinaryCorps designed curriculum includes healthful hands-on cooking classes for all ages and delicious family-oriented activities throughout the week.
To gain an even better understanding of what this trip will entail, please read our day-by-day description of last year’s amazing visit. We will be replicating the itinerary this year. And for those of you who are more visual, take a peek at all the incredible camp moments captured here.
Doing good never tasted better. Apply today! Trip details and application below: