Mebane elementary school welcomes region's school nutrition managers

Last week, the kitchen at Garrett Elementary School was filled with school nutrition managers from school systems across the Triad who were taking part in the K-12 Culinary Institute, sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Staff learned a variety of new techniques for food preparation at various schools throughout the area. According to the Alamance-Burlington School System, they serve approximately 3 million meals each school year to local students.

On Tuesday, August 6 through Thursday, August 8, the school cafeteria and kitchen at Garrett Elementary School took on the persona of a gourmet cooking show. Approximately 25 school nutrition managers from area school districts attended the final  statewide K-12 Culinary Institute, sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. 

According to the Public Schools of North Carolina website, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Services Section, in cooperation with Chef Cyndie Story and K-12 Team, developed The NC K-12 Culinary Institute, which features face-to-face and online instruction for school nutrition personnel, to improve student health, well-being and academic success through nutritious, appealing meals at school, increase participation in high quality, enticing school nutrition programs, expand the capacity of local school nutrition programs to purchase, prepare and serve fresh, locally grown produce, increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain rich foods, and to provide continuing education opportunities for school nutrition personnel.

According to ABSS, the school system’s child nutrition program serves approximately 3 million meals each school year. ABSS had school nutrition personnel participating in the culinary clinic in addition to being the host site for the event.

The kitchen in the Garrett Elementary cafeteria was abuzz with activity throughout the week, as local cafeteria managers practiced their skills in hands-on training opportunities led by Chef Cyndie Story and her culinary team of professionals. Planned instructional segments included topics such as knife skills, weighing and measuring accurately, preparing foods for just-in-time service, work simplification and scheduling, effective use of equipment, and quality food preparation and service for a variety of meats, grains, fruits, vegetables, and condiments.

Following the three-day program, each of the participants in the training session graduated as culinary ambassadors, prepared to teach colleagues at their workplace when school begins. 

Garrett Elementary School was the final stop for the statewide culinary experience this summer. Sessions were previously held over the summer in Craven, Rowan, Pasquotank, Asheville, Nash, New Hanover, Wilkes, and Harnett Counties.