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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First DeKalb Farm to School Workshop Held by The Cook's Warehouse


Press release for April 3

THE COOK’S WAREHOUSE FARM TO SCHOOL WORKSHOP
FOR DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT PROGRAM
Locally Grown, Freshly Prepared Meals for DeKalb
ATLANTA, April 3, 2012 – Mary S. Moore, founder and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse (www.cookswarehouse.com), hosted the first farm to school “cooking workshop” session in its Decatur store to help cafeteria staff and schoolchildren’s meals for the DeKalb County (GA) School District.
The Cook’s Warehouse program is patterned after its successful two-year workshop series with the City Schools of Decatur.
This effort is a joint project of The Cook’s Warehouse, Georgia Organics (www.georgiaorganics.org), the Atlanta Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (http://www.ldeiatlanta.org/ ) and the DeKalb County School District School Nutrition Department. DeKalb County Board of Health funded this workshop through a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant through Georgia Organics.
It is meant to teach easy, efficient and inspired cooking skills which may be transferred to those staff and front-line cafeteria workers who feed our children one or two meals, five days a week.
Erin Croom, Georgia Organics Farm to School coordinator, began the morning with a discussion of the farm to school movement in Georgia, when to buy local fruits and vegetables and how to handle these fruits and vegetables to increase student consumption when offered on the menu in DeKalb’s Farm to School Program.
DeKalb County Schools is also participating in the Healthier U.S. School Challenge which aligns with Let’s Move Salad Bars To Schools. Joyce R. Wimberly, nutrition director of DeKalb County Schools, implemented a district-wide farm to school initiative this school year.
Chef Moore then taught the first class along with Chefs Megan McCarthy and Asata Reid and three cooking assistants, as a ground-up initiative beginning with pre-cooking skills including professional and safe knife handling.
Future classes may include finding local and organic farms as sources; seasoning food; quick and tasty, low-fat/healthy recipes that adapt well to large numbers; managing fresh food with minimal waste to stretch the school’s budget, and more.
The DeKalb School Nutrition Managers were treated to buffet breakfast and then prepared their lunch, practicing newly learned knife skills to make healthy recipes cooked with locally grown ingredients. There were 28 DeKalb County Managers in attendance from 25 different DeKalb County Schools.
Janet Stone, Menu Coordinator, described the morning as “a unique experience to work with these chefs, to enhance our culinary skills for use in meal preparation.”
Also on site were Hope Abbs and Jimmy Harmon of Dexter’s Farm, a distributor which donated many of the locally grown fruits and vegetables for the skills practice and luncheon meal. The Whole Foods Market on Briarcliff Road also donated produce.
After dividing the kitchen staff into four teams, the “practice” dishes prepared included:
· Three Sisters vegetable soup
· Crudités of hummus and broccoli pesto with vegetable dippers
· Green bean salad
· Chicken salad
· Carrot muffins
· Romaine salad with fresh strawberries and cucumbers with homemade balsamic dressing
· Two pastas, with broccoli pesto and with roasted tomato sauce
The revolution of healthy school lunches began with UK Chef Jamie Oliver (Food TV’s “Naked Chef” and a worldwide celebrity) who learned that this generation of British schoolchildren was the first in decades not expected to live as long as their parents. His UK program so revolutionized school lunches that Queen Elizabeth II named him an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2003 and he broadcast two series of shows in the United States from West Virginia and California.
In this movement, every spring First Lady Michelle Obama has planted vegetable gardens on White House grounds (the first ones since the Roosevelt administration’s “Victory Gardens”) and named Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass as her senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives in her Chefs Move to Schools program. Moore was at the White House for the launch of this program.
The Cook’s Warehouse (www.cookswarehouse.com) is greater Atlanta’s premier gourmet cookware store and cooking school with four stores in the Midtown, Decatur and Brookhaven areas in the city and the East Cobb County area of the suburbs. It offers more than 15,000 products for the kitchen and operates the largest avocational cooking school in the Southeast conducting more than 800 classes yearly, often taught by local chefs, and has a large web-based delivery-by-post site.
Owned and operated by founder Mary S. Moore, The Cook’s Warehouse also retails high-end appliances; conducts private cooking classes for unique celebrations and corporate events, and is a pro bono partner with virtually every major cooking event and gourmet association in Atlanta.
Moore is currently vice chair of Atlanta’s Table (the Advisory Board of the Atlanta Community Food Bank); president of the international board of Les Dames d’Escoffier; is a member of The Carter Center Board of Councilors; serves on the Woodward Academy Alumni board and belongs to numerous other gourmet associations.
The Cook’s Warehouse Decatur store is located at 180 West Ponce de Leon Avenue in downtown Decatur, GA.

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