The Class of 2018 at the recent North Carolina K-12 Culinary Institute included four LCPS cafeteria managers, bringing to 15 the number of school-based child nutrition leaders in the district who have completed the training in the past three years.
The newest graduates of the four-day program are Deshonnia Cooley of Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School, Sheila Mason of Northeast Elementary School, Cheryl Hinson of Moss Hill Elementary School and Mabalene Moore of Northwest Elementary School.
“Our four cafeteria managers have taken time out of their summer to enhance their skills in the kitchen, which brings extra quality and more technique into preparing the meals that are served to our students here in Lenoir County Public Schools,” Danelle Smith, LCPS child nutrition director, said.
“I am very proud of these four cafeteria managers and all of our cafeteria managers who have graduated from the K-12 Culinary Institute. Our entire child nutrition team values professional development because it helps us do even more for our students.”
Instructional segments at the institute, held this month at South Central High School in Winterville,
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.
The institute was developed by the School Nutrition Section of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and Chef Cyndie Story’s K-12 Culinary Team in order to meet five core objectives:
- Improve student health, well-being and academic success through nutritious, appealing meals at school,
- Increase participation in high quality, enticing school nutrition programs,
- Expand 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
- Provide continuing education opportunities for school nutrition personnel.
Participants graduate as chef ambassadors and culinary specialists. These ambassadors will be prepared to teach other school nutrition professionals at the district and school level.
“Cafeteria managers who have graduated from the K-12 Culinary Institute are chef ambassadors in that they are to share what they have learned with their fellow child nutrition team members,” Smith said.
“We will be having culinary classes for two days when we first come back to school during the required workdays lead by some of our K-12 Culinary graduates. Together they will all be working on consistency, quality, seasoning and appearance of foods based on the recipes that are given to our staff.”
Last school year, LCPS child nutrition workers at the district’s 17 schools served more than 1.3 million free breakfast and lunch meals to students and this summer have served about 1,000 breakfasts and lunches daily as part of its Summer Food Service Program.