Cooking up some fun

Kids in the Kitchen places City's Smart Scholars with SCCC students

Burritos were rolled in an assembly line and a raspberry vinaigrette was crafted for a buffet, and the whole thing was prepared by high school students getting a taste at culinary arts.

Around 20 Schenectady High School ninth-graders experienced what it's like to be a chef in a busy kitchen environment during the first Kids in the Kitchen program on Monday, April 25, at Schenectady County Community College. The Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties offered the program through a partnership with SCCC's culinary arts program. Students learned the benefits of buying fresh, local produce and also learned how to live a healthy lifestyle.

"We have an extraordinary opportunity to not only help combat potential health problems among today's children and help put the issue of childhood obesity on the top of our nation's public health agendas, but to also highlight nutrition as a career and as a lifestyle," said Denise Murphy McGraw, chairwoman of the SCCC Board of Trustees.

This is the third time SCCC has done the cooking program, previously with General Electric, but this was the first time with students, said Kimberly Williams, assistant professor for the banquet management and operations. The Junior League had approached the college about the potential partnership.

"This is a honor that we are working with the Junior League," said Williams. "We were a little nervous working with students, but it is a great honor because it turns the table " the students become the teachers. It empowers the students, because they take on the teaching role."

The students learned basic culinary skills, along with nutrition, during the program. Students were broken off into groups to focus on certain elements of the meal.

The buffet menu included tortilla chips with a garden salsa, mixed greens and spinach salad with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing, fresh strawberry shortcake and an entrEe selection of pulled chicken and vegetable burritos with cheese.

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