On Thursday, our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders got to treat themselves - to some nutritious, tasty food!
Members of the Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey paid the students a visit on April 18th to talk to them about eating healthily, and about the paths one can take to become a professional cook or chef. The PCASJ is our local chapter of the American Culinary Federation, dedicated to education and humanitarian efforts. Chefs Mike, Ed, George, Guy, and Keith brought an assortment of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce, for students to snack on after their presentation.
After telling them about the foods they’d brought, the chefs stressed to the students the importance of choosing to eat “clean,” non-processed, and fresh foods as often as possible. Everyone (even the chefs) agreed that fried food can taste good. But the chefs made a point to encourage other healthier methods of cooking, like baking or steaming, that can be just as delicious while keeping the food’s nutrients in tact.
A handful of students raised their hands when asked if anybody hoped to become a professional cook or chef someday. The chefs provided the students with many words of wisdom, but always returned to the fact that gaining firsthand experience is crucial to becoming a pro at anything. The five chefs had over 200 years of cooking experience among them, working at establishments such as the Taj Mahal Casino, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and The Flanders Hotel. Students asked them a great deal of questions, ranging from how they got their start and what inspired them to become chefs to which famous people they’ve cooked for (the kids loved when Chef Mike added that he’d personally cooked for Drake).
At the conclusion, everybody received their share of fruits, vegetables, and pasta, while some chefs spoke to students individually about their prospective futures in the culinary arts. Everyone could tell that the chefs loved sharing their knowledge and experience, as well as their food, with the younger generation.
Thank you, chefs!