Out of the Kitchen and into the Community

From plating dishes with the pros to connecting with yogis, Brainfood students have had a busy spring

Embrace Yoga DC

While others were grilling brats and snacking on potato salad, a few Brainfood grads and dedicated yogis decided to spend this year’s Memorial Day learning about and supporting Brainfood.

Embrace Yoga DC, a local studio in Adams Morgan, chose Brainfood to be the beneficiary for their quarterly awareness and fundraising efforts. The pinnacle event of the quarter was their Embrace Your Love workshop held on May 29th. This was not just a regular yoga class, but an opportunity for Brainfood students Akila and Kenneth to share their experiences with community members.

Akila, a 2017 graduate of Brainfood’s first year program, Cooks in Training, talked about how he was motivated to join Brainfood simply because he needed community service hours to fulfill his graduation requirements. However, as the year progressed he found himself excited to come to class, learn to cook and spend time with friends, new and old. While he picked up a variety of new skills, he most enjoyed learning to cook meat. Following the presentation, Akila chose to stay for the yoga class, his first ever!

Kenneth, a 2015 graduate of Cooks in Training and a 2016 graduate of Community Cooking Coaches (CCC) the second year program, presented a different perspective. He highlighted a favorite memory of a workshop he co-taught with his fellow CCC’s to a group of primary schoolers. Kenneth delighted in the opportunity to engage the youngsters in a lesson about healthy snacks, teaching them to make their own yogurt parfaits.

Both students excelled in their public speaking skills and represented Brainfood positively in the community.

Sunday Suppers

Amir and Aaron, 2017 graduates of Brainfood Cooks in Training, both dream of opening their own restaurants someday. When asked to work alongside professional chefs at this year’s 6th annual Sunday Supper at Union Market you won’t be surprised to hear that they jumped at the opportunity.

Under the direction of Richie Brandenburg of EDENS and our guide for the evening, Amir and Aaron were thrown into the culture of a professional kitchen in full swing. “Hurry up and wait” was the atmosphere; one minute they would be standing on the sidelines observing the organized chaos and the next they’d be thrown into the fray to help prep pizzas or plate pork. They quickly learned to watch their backs and jump in to help when needed.

When we first arrived, Amir and Aaron spread sauce and placed toppings on Chef Erin Clarke of Casa Luca, DC’s gourmet pizzas. They also carefully plucked petals from edible flowers to serve as a bright garnish atop the mouthwatering pies still warm from the oven.

During a lull between courses, Amir and Aaron assisted Chef Camila Arango of Bluebird Bakery to assemble cakes filled with guava and beautifully adorned with coconut to be served at the dessert reception following the dinner.

Finally, just as we thought things were wrapping up, Aaron and Amir were whisked off to the side of Chef Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, Mijita, The Commissary, Public House in San Francisco to plate the main course. There stood Amir, Aaron, and Chef Traci collaborating efficiently despite having met just moments earlier to arrange dazzling ingredients sure to tickle the taste buds of any guest.

Sunday Suppers was a great opportunity for these two students to learn about life in a professional kitchen, practice networking and taste amazing and creative flavors.