Friday, May 8, 2015

How to do a cooking class for 160, 8-9 year olds and getting ready for Food Revolution Day 2015!

On May 15th, 2015, Food Revolution Day is set to embark on its 4th annual day of global recognition to encourage more nutrition education. This mission is not only about teaching the ABC's of nutrition but helping the children develop a love of cooking and a foundation for what good and real food is.
This year I embarked on a journey to teach 160 third graders how to assemble and prepare a "squash sandwich".
The cooking class will be led by Chef Jamie Oliver,  virtually presenting via the world wide web, a 40 minute demonstration. the mastermind behind  Food Revolution Day, Jamie Oliver has been advocating for Food education and this year he is pushing for a global impact to improve the future of our children, so please sign the petition, click here.

As a local ambassador for the Food Revolution Day cause I decided that this year I would participate by having all of the third graders at our local elementary participate in the class. Here is how I went about starting a cooking class for our local Elementary:
1. Last year I wanted to do the online cooking class with Jamie but did not allow enough time for planning so this year I started in February and approached my son's third grade teachers and started out on the journey of garnering donations, recruiting volunteers and planning out the event to the smallest details.
2. I emailed the team leader for third grade and told her about the event. She enthusiastically agreed to team up and make the event happen at the school. We then sought approval from the Principal and once that was done, I approached local vendors.
3. Some of the vendors that I reached out to included: Whole Foods Boca Raton, The Dairy Council, Pero Family Farms and Ernston Produce. The list of ingredients was pretty long including lot of vegetables and herbs. With the cost of produce, especially to feed 160 kids, it was a nail bitter as to if I would be able to accomplish this task at all. But my amazing vendors came through and enthusiastically agreed to donate for the cause. I had a last minute request for bread in which I approached our local PTA who stepped up and agreed to purchase the bread.

4. About 4 weeks before the event we were encouraged by Jamie Oliver to have the students grow some of the produce needed. We planted radishes, basil and dill and my son delivered them to the classrooms with a letter of how to take care of the plants.

5. In my non-realistic dream I envisioned all 160 of the children in aprons and chef hats. But obviously the financial impact of that was way out of my budget so I came up with a chef hat template, which you can download here. Chef hat template. The kids will have to staple or tape the hats together and will also be able to personalize them with colors and pictures. The chef hats will be more of an aesthetic idea, but in my vision they will all look super cute. I did purchase some inexpensive aprons for my sons class on Amazon and had 50 buttons made to pin to the aprons and give out to the teachers and volunteers.

6. I rounded up, with the help of our awesome volunteer coordinator Rosana, 9 volunteers to help the teachers during the class. Prior to the class I sent each volunteer the link to Jamie's video and an idea of how the lesson plan should go, in hopes that everything would run smoothly.

7. Since the herbs were an expensive part of the lesson, we also decided to grow watercress in the classrooms. I started the seeds at home and, according to the package the seeds would be ready to go in 5-7 days. If you are not familiar with watercress, as I was not, its a peppery herb that is added to sandwiches and easily grown.

8. Packets were made that included completion certificates, sandwich building activity, chef hat templates and copies of the lesson plans to be distributed the week of the event.

All of my plans are now in place. All that is left to do is pick up the produce, distribute it to the classrooms and cross my fingers that everything from technology to the children's behavior falls into place. I look forward to this event because it is my small part that may influence some of the children to think a little more about the foods they eat and acquire a love for cooking.

If you have any questions about the event or Food Revolution Day please email me at:

So go on, stir things up in your area and start a Food Revolution! xoxo Brandi

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