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Now recruiting volunteers for our 2015 trip!

CulinaryCorps is excited to announce that we will be returning for a third time to Camp Sunshine for our 2015 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 August 22-28th oncology 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 trip summary of last year’s amazing visit. We will be replicating the same itinerary this year with a few minor changes. And for those of you who are more visual, take a peek at all the incredible camp moments here.

Doing good never tasted better. Apply today! Trip details and application below:

TRIP DETAILS

Location: Camp Sunshine,Casco, ME

Trip Dates: August 22nd (arrive by 2pm in Portland) – August 28th, 2015 (depart by 3pm)

Trip Fee: $325 per person (Includes housing, meals and ground transport. Does not include transportation to/from Portland, ME)

Trip Fundraising Requirement: $400 per person

Managing Trip Leader: Aimee Bariteau

For general trip FAQs, please click HERE

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Application: Click HERE to fill out our online application*

Application Deadline: Friday, May 11th at 5pm EST 

(Selection Notification: On or Before May 21st, 2015)

*If accepted, Camp Sunshine requires a secondary application and background check.

VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

  • 21 years of age
  • Minimum 1 year of professional culinary experience and/or culinary degree (Currently enrolled culinary students are also encouraged to apply)
  • References and background check
  • Personal health insurance
  • Fundraising for class supplies, equipment and ingredients

PREFERRED SKILLS

  • Hands-on experience in teaching others how to cook healthy meals.
  • Previous experience working with children of all ages.
  • Flexibility and adaptability both in the kitchen and outside of it.
  • Willingness to get goofy, get dancin’ and get into the camp spirit!

OUR MISSION AT CAMP SUNSHINE

Camp Sunshine supports children with life threatening illnesses and their families.  The camp has the distinction of being the only program in the nation whose goal is to address the impact of a life threatening illness on every member of the immediate  family—the ill child, the parents, and the siblings.  Since its inception, Camp Sunshine has provided a haven for over 40,500 individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Our CulinaryCorps trip mission is to enhance the camp’s daily programming with cooking classes geared for campers of all ages including parents. Each class will be designed to teach culinary basics as well as healthful alternatives to unhealthy foods. And as always, we aim for every class to be a lot of fun! In addition, we will be hosting evening programming for families that will focus on fostering health and family-bonding through cooking. Finally, our lessons will be put to good use as each age group competes separately in their very own “Top Chef Sunshine” challenge.

It is our hope that cooking with these campers and their families will provide educational entertainment throughout the week, culinary knowledge to bring home to their own kitchens and a whole lot of long-lasting joy.

VOLUNTEER  OVERVIEW

Throughout the week of service, our chef-volunteers will be tasked with the following:

  • Introduce the flavors and culinary concepts that will be covered in the curriculum on the day of camper arrival through our “Test Your Tastebuds” event.
  • Teach daily hands-on cooking classes for campers as well as the parents around a country’s culinary heritage incorporating not only food but music, books and history.
  • The five 45-minute sessions per day will encompass the nuts and bolts of cooking including knife skills, palate expansion, sautéing, grilling, dough making, and healthy shortcuts as well as highlighting a country of origin.
  • Each class will be slightly modified to fit the skill set of the age group (2-4, 5-7, 8-12, teens and adult) as well as adjust the lessons for allergies and/or disabilities.
  • Work behind-the-scenes in the camp’s kitchen creating an intimate dinner-party “date night” for the parents on Wednesday night.
  • Facilitate an afternoon of crazy fun with our second annual “Foodie Family Olympics!”
  • Host a “Top Chef Sunshine” competition on the final day of camp where chefs and campers in each age group team up to create a stellar dish using a secret ingredient.
  • High-five, hug, laugh, dance, tell jokes, sing on stage, smile, giggle, act goofy, get silly…all in the name of CAMP!

For a more in-depth description of the daily responsibilities of the CulinaryCorps volunteers, please read our 2014 daily overview HERE.

3-Course Fundraiser Dinner at the Natural Gourmet on August 15th

Please join CulinaryCorps alum and Natural Gourmet Institute graduate, Celia Lam, for the August 15th installment of NGI’s Friday Night Dinner series, a 3-course vegetarian/vegan dinner cooked by the students. Part of proceeds of will be donated to CulinaryCorps and our 2014 Camp Sunshine trip. The menu is not yet available online but it is sure to be creatively delicious.

Tickets are $48.99 for the public (a bit less for alumni and students) and are available online HERE.

Hope to see you soon!

Our 2014 Trip in Numbers

10 carefully selected chef-volunteers from across the country

Including 1 Canadian, eh?!

824 collective CulinaryCorps volunteer manpower hours

281 miles walked in our outdoor pop-up kitchen

20 classes launched for our World of Flavors cooking curriculum for 185 campers and volunteers

Over 453 plates of food cooked by the campers themselves including:

186 freshly-pressed tortillas

56-feet of veggie-sushi rolled

12 original “Top Chef Sunshine” dishes created using…

 1 secret ingredient (Allez cuisine!! It was whole wheat orzo.)

4 gallons of Jell-O tossed during our 2nd Annual Family Foodie Olympics but…

           0 eggs broken during the “Chef Egg” relay

226 pounds of Maine lobster donated by CulinaryCorps and devoured by the entire camp

Thousands of heart-expanding moments of joy made possible by…

1 upcoming 3-course vegetarian fundraising dinner in NYC (book your tickets now!),

10 generous corporate sponsors,

1 innovative Salvage Supperclub fundraiser and…

133 amazing individual donors just like you!

For all your kindness, we offer our immeasurable thanks.


Our 2014 Chef-Volunteer team in their Warriors in Pink aprons.

Our 2014 Trip Daily Recaps

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.

CSPIX__0153

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.

Italy Dressing Group

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.

Italy Flip Pan

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.

Bear claw

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?

Japan Sushi Fingers

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.

Japan Goofy

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).

Volunteer Class 3

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.

Mexico Meal Time

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).

Foodie Jello3

  • 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.

Foodie Donuts Hanging

  • 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.

Foodie Chef Egg2

  • 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.

Top Chef Stadium

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.

Top Chef Judgin

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.

 

trio

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.

Chefs Fierce

 

Our 2014 Trip Summary: Another Delicious Success

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!

Our 2014 Trip in Pictures

We think pictures really do say a thousand words; we also think that pictures of Camp Sunshine may just say a million. For a photo journey of our magical week, please click on the collage below. Many thanks to the incredibly talented AJ Cincotta-Eichenfield for taking such amazing shots throughout the week.

ccorps

Our 2014 Chef-Volunteer Team

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.

And We’re Back From Camp!

We have so much good news (and great pictures) to share from our trip last week to Camp Sunshine. And while we still need a few more days to get our thoughts down in blog format, check out our Twitter feed for some sneak peek pics. And while you are at it, why don’t you follow us? We’d love to have you along for the ride!

Freegan Fundraising

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