November 2011 Trip

The 2011 CulinaryCorps Team

After watching this video, you may be wondering just who are all those folks smiling like mad and donning CulinaryCorps chef jackets? Well, they all happened to be CulinaryCorps alumni who had proven their true grit on at least one prior CulinaryCorps trip. And we were incredibly honored to welcome them all back to our 2011 chef-volunteer team:

Christine Carroll — Founding Director, CulinaryCorps & Cookbook Author — Washington, DC

 

Thomas Medrow — Sous Chef, Citizens Bank Park — Philadelphia, PA

 

Susan Tuason — Chef Owner, Un Deux Trois Catering Company & Garden Intern, Mala’ai Gardens — Waimea, Hawaii

 

Arden Rivera — Freelance Private Chef — New York, NY

 

Jessica Botta — Chef Instructor and Coordinator, Italian Culinary Academy — New York, NY

Aimee Bariteau — Founder and Chef, Reel Tasty — Brooklyn, New York

 

Steven Caldwell — Chef Owner, Caldwell Catering – Greensboro, North Carolina

 

Lisa Slater — Store Team Leader, Whole Foods Market Canada & Cookbook Author — Toronto, Canada

 

Nancy Fribley — Personal Chef — Cape May, New Jersey

Minh Phan — Chef Owner & Educator, Echo Park Artisinal — Los Angeles, CA

 

[A special thanks to Allie Carroll Photography for the amazing photos!]

 

CulinaryCorps In Action!

If a picture says a thousand words, this slideshow of our November 2011 culanthropy trip may just say a million.

Thanks Allie Carroll Photography for capturing the magical moments. And thank you chefs, sponsors, donors, and project partners for allowing us to do what we do best…cook it forward!

Sun Herald Love

We had the privilege of connecting with food writer, cookbook author and kindred spirit, Julian Brunt, during our day developing the Grow.Cook.Dine. curriculum for Real Food Gulf Coast. Inspired by our recipe tasting, he wrote the following piece for today’s Sun Herald about our recent trip to the Gulf Coast:

Ten chefs gathered on the Gulf Coast recently from as far away as the Hawaiian Island and Brooklyn, New York to volunteer their time in a food focused program aimed at introducing healthy food to children living in community’s in need.

CulinaryCorps is a non-profit organization made up of skilled culinary professionals who volunteer for one week to help enrich the lives of others through good food.  Formed in 2006 by Chef Christine Carroll of Washington DC, who was inspired to become involved after a visit to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. The week long trips the chefs make focus on introducing healthy food to children and their teachers using hands on techniques and exciting formats like cooking competitions.  VIP cooking classes are also held in which funders and supports are introduced to the same curriculum.

On Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12th, the CulinaryCorps’ chefs meet with the Boys and Girls Club of Pass Christian. In a Food Network style show they prepared food and then presented it to their enthusiastic audience. Many questions were answered and a large group of adults and children were introduced to healthy cooking and local foods.

On Sunday the chefs meet with Real Food Gulf Coast, an organization dedicated to healthy and sustainable food-ways, to test cook a menu designed around a ten week after school cooking club curriculum. The club will be entitled Grow-Cook-Dine and will partner with the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, local schools and the Jackson County Boys and Girls Club. The menu will feature local foods and wild foods that can be foraged from the Pascagoula River basin and will be prepared in the kitchen the Audubon Center is planning at their new facility.

For more information contact Diane Claughton at www.realfoodgulfcoast.org or Christine Carroll at culinarycorps.org.

Flying High In Spirit Magazine

CulinaryCorps takes to the skies this month with our coverage in Southwest Airline’s in-flight publication, Spirit Magazine.

Rather than must-have toys and tech gear, Spirit handpicked 32 action-filled trips that will take you from the snow-covered peaks of Park City, Utah, to the tale-tinged pubs of New York City.

Check us out as the only “Cooking Volunteer” option in the article appropriately entitled “Experience Gifts.”

Trip Recap 11/13:Planting the Seeds for “Grow.Cook.Dine.”

For those of you who followed our 2009 trip to the Gulf Coast, you may remember our incredible day of service in Ocean Springs, Mississippi entitled Grow.Cook.Dine. A signature “seed to plate” program developed and written by CulinaryCorps in partnership with Real Food Gulf Coast, it is a 10-week after school cooking and gardening curriculum. The hands-on cooking experience ties in the bounty of local farms, shores, and fields with the produce students can grow in their own backyard and forage from the world around them.

(Exploring new tastes and flavors with our 2009 volunteer team. Photo credit CulinaryCorps.)

During our  2009 CulinaryCorps trip, the team created a program launch to much fanfare at the Mary C O’Keefe Center for the Arts.  A crowd of over 75 third grade students came out to learn about how seeds are planted, harvested, and eaten through a series of hands-on cooking stations that followed the Grow.Cook.Dine. lesson plans. They loved it! So with the program in motion, Real Food Gulf Coast set about finding the funding to initiate the classes in neighboring coastal communities. They have been working hard since our departure to get the curriculum up and running.

(Always use the “bear claw” for safety. Photo credit CulinaryCorps.)

With our return to the area, CulinaryCorps asked if there was a need for a follow-up activity to support Grow.Cook.Dine and its development. As we learned, our timing was perfect! In 2012, Real Food Gulf Coast  is aiming to launch the program in the soon-to-be-completed Audobon Center in Moss Point, a tight-knit low-income community of approximately 12,000 residents that is at this time classified as a food desert. They asked if we could come out to help reboot the curriculum to fit their current needs as well as test the recipes and sample them to community supporters to generate funding interest. Of course, we said yes. Absolutely.

So once again, we jumped in our vans and followed the coast west to Moss Point. When we arrived at the Pascagoula Audobon Center the tall grass, perched squab, stark trees, and glistening water of the Pascagoula River were waiting for us. It was stunning.

(Blowing in the wind. Photo credit Allie Carroll Photography.)

To start the day, our team embarked on a foraging expedition with Dr. Mark LaSalle of the Pascagoula River Audobon Center. Armed with a bucket and a fish net we harvested fragrant wild bay, starchy cattails, and a huge haul of small but tasty mullet. We came away with a new perspective and a tremendous appreciation for the wild foods of the area.

(Gathering under the pecan tree. Photo credit Allie Carroll Photography.)

(Catch of the day. Photo credit Allie Carroll Photography.)

After getting our hands dirty pulling leaves and roots, we set out for the supermarket to learn what foods are available on the shelves. Our team spent the next hour studying the aisles of the town’s only grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, getting a sense of what ingredients would be available to incorporate into our recipes. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised at what we found. Whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits, and low-fat dairy were all readily available. Seems “The Pig” has more healthy potential then even some residents realized.

(Ready for “The Pig.” Photo credit Allie Carroll Photography.)

When we returned back to the Audobon Center, Real Food Gulf Coast cooked up wonderful goat sausage sandwiches with local tomatoes as we set about testing each and every recipe in the Grow.Cook.Dine. curriculum. Homemade butter was the first team effort as we each took turns shaking the jars. It was then turned into a fragrant herbed topper for fresh popcorn as well as a simple sauce for pan-fried chicken with spinach and black-eyed peas.

(Sauteed chicken with homemade herbed butter. Photo credit CulinaryCorps.)

The tested recipes came out looking beautiful! And tasted just as good.

(Pretty local veggies with homemade ranch dressing. Photo credit CulinaryCorps.)

Once settled around the communal table, CulinaryCorps chefs and local community members–including seafood expert and food writer Julian Blunt–embarked on a group taste test and panel discussion about the program and its recipes. Several changes were made and through our collective brainstorming, we all learned a lot about the how and why of building a hands-on cooking curriculum for kids. Plus, we got to eat really well.


(Fruit salad sundaes with a cherry on top. Photo credit CulinaryCorps.)

As one team member said this week, CulinaryCorps is about many things but fundamentally, it is about “cooking it forward.” We use our skills in the kitchen and love of food to create “wow!” moments that not only provide great food but have the potential to engage, educate, and inspire. It is our hope that after we depart, the momentum we create urges others in the community to cook it forward too. From the kind messages we received from our community panel since our departure, our day at the Audobon Center with Real Food Gulf Coast did just that!

(We’ll be back! Photo credit Allie Carroll Photography)

November 2011 Trip: Thank You Trip Sponsors!

We could not have launched our November 2011 CulinaryCorps trip without the support of the following major sponsors:

International Flavors and Fragrances – For their incredible Cooking at the Club development sponsorship

Chefwear – For the swankiest team jackets we have ever worn!

Whole Foods Market Louisiana – For filling our carts to overflowing with great groceries for Dibert Family Food Night

The French Culinary Institute – For once again generously contributing to our culanthropy efforts

The Carroll Family – For their support from day 1 and every day thereafter…

Our thanks is deep and everlasting.

November 2011: The Trip Details

Destination: 

New Orleans, Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Dates:

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 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.

Projects:

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 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.

Ongoing

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.

Give a little green. Get a little chocolate.

To help offset the costs of our November 2011 volunteer trip, we’ve set an ambitious $4,500 fundraising goal. Should you choose to make a donation, we will make the utmost effort to honor your generosity in the following ways:

  • $0 – $49: An online shout-out in our “Friends of CulinaryCorps” blog post + Entry into our praline giveaway**
  • $50 – $99: An online shout-out in our “Friends of CulinaryCorps” blog post + A personalized thank you card from a CulinaryCorps team member with their favorite trip recipe + Entry into our praline giveaway**
  • $100 – $149: An online shout-out in our “Friends of CulinaryCorps” blog post + A personalized thank you card from a CulinaryCorps team member with their favorite trip recipe + 4 LARGE chocolate-dipped Bourbon-pecan pralines* + Entry into our praline giveaway**
  • $150 – $249: An online shout-out in our “Friends of CulinaryCorps” blog post + A personalized thank you card from a CulinaryCorps team member with their favorite trip recipe + 8 LARGE chocolate-dipped Bourbon-pecan pralines* + Entry into our praline giveaway**
  • $250+: An online shout-out in our “Friends of CulinaryCorps” blog post + A personalized thank you card from a CulinaryCorps team member with their favorite trip recipe + 1 dozen LARGE chocolate-dipped Bourbon-pecan pralines* + a place in CulinaryCorps history as an official entry on our “Table of Donors” webpage + Entry into our praline giveaway**

**And, three donors will be chosen at random to receive 1 dozen chocolate-dipped Bourbon-pecan pralines**

It doesn’t get much sweeter than that!