For immediate release:
June 1, 2012
Chef-taught courses aim to elevate school meals
Culinary Champions series focuses on quality, health
TOPEKA -- A new feature of the Child Nutrition Management Academy (CNMA) kicks off around the state next week with an emphasis on improving the health benefits and taste of school meals. The program will feature four chef-taught culinary courses for school food service managers and directors.
The CNMA, coordinated by the Child Nutrition and Wellness team at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), provides professional development for school nutrition program leaders. The new culinary courses are designed to help school nutrition staff better understand how to cook and serve healthy foods that taste great. The four new courses, part of the Culinary Champions series, cover healthy cooking methods, wholesome ingredients, culinary techniques to preserve quality and fundamentals that can improve the healthfulness and tastiness of existing recipes.
“School nutrition leaders face a growing challenge in meeting increasing standards for nutrition quality, food safety and student wellness,” said Cheryl Johnson, director of Child Nutrition and Wellness at KSDE. “Our CNMA classes are designed to help school nutrition leaders meet those challenges. Our new Culinary Champions series focuses specifically on increasing the health benefits of school lunches, while elevating the dishes so they have a pleasing presentation and taste great.”
Three Kansas chefs have been recruited to lead the Culinary Champions courses, which will make their debut June 4-8 in Topeka at Seaman High School, in Chanute at Chanute High School and in Hays at Hays High School. The courses will also be offered June 12-15 in Dodge City at Dodge City High School, in Haysville at Campus High School and in Basehor at Basehor High School. Registration is still open for the June 12-15 classes. Interested individuals can register through June 6 by visiting www.kn-eat.org and following the links for school nutrition programs and the five-star training program, or by calling 785-296-2276.
The Culinary Champions series features a course on basic culinary skills that covers healthy food preparation and cooking methods, as well as a course on world cuisine that focuses on preparation and cooking methods for healthy multi-cultural foods. The menu makeover course looks at how to adapt traditional recipes to make them healthier, and the fresh perspectives course focuses on the use of locally sourced agricultural food products.
The chefs who will teach the courses are Jerry Marcellus, Rick Martin and David Smith. Marcellus has spent the past 14 years as a culinary educator and currently is associate professor of Hospitality Management at Johnson County Community College. He was the ACF Greater Kansas City Chef’s Association Chef of the Year in 2002, a recipient of their President’s Award in 2008 and nominated for the ACF Central Region Culinary Educator of the Year in 2011. He is a certified Chef d’ Cuisine and Certified Culinary Educator.
Martin has spent 25 years in Kansas restaurants, cultivating a passion for locally sourced foods and child nutrition. He spent 20 years as executive chef at Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence, where he took purchases of locally produced foods to more than $250,000 per year. He now serves as a culinary arts instructor at Eudora High School and is a member of the Community Mercantile Education Foundation, which oversees the Growing Food-Growing Health school garden projects. He also serves as a member of the Douglas County Food Policy Council.
Smith is an ACF Certified Chef and has served as an executive chef and food service director. He currently serves as associate professor of Hospitality Management at Johnson County Community College, having spent 30 years in the hospitality field.