Culinary Camp Offers Kids a Chance to Live Their Dream

Middle schoolers work with dining services to receive hands-on kitchen training.

Published in FSD C&U Spotlight

By 
Steven Johnson, Associate Editor

While summer vacation for many kids means endless hours in front of a television or computer screen, one group of middle school children recently got the opportunity to live out their culinary dreams. In June, 11 kids took part in a five-day, four-night on-campus culinary camp held by Virginia Tech Dining Services. Those who took part got to learn the basics in cooking techniques, as well as instruction in food and kitchen safety, nutrition, food budgeting and dining etiquette.

Virginia Tech Dining Services Training and Project Coordinator Jessica Filip says the event was an opportunity to teach kids how to make better food choices by showing how easy and fun it can be to prepare their own meals. “Dining Services’ goal was for the participants to learn preparation of food, the joy of cooking and ultimately retain what they learned for a lifetime,” Filip says. “The program was designed for the campers to come away stimulated and confident in using their newfound knowledge and share it with their families.”

Filip says the idea for the camp began when Ted Faulkner, director of Virginia Tech’s Dining Services, suggested the department hold a summertime activity where kids could learn about the culinary arts.

Program participants were taught how to do easy recipes, such as pizzas, ice cream and smoothies, which Filip says would not require special equipment or their parents’ help. Other activities included tours of the school’s local garden and dairy farm, as well as a visit to an area grocery store where chefs taught campers how to select fresh produce and meats.

On the last day of camp, students were able to apply the lessons they learned by catering a luncheon for their parents.

Having received positive feedback about this year’s program, Filip says plans are in the works for similar types of events to be held next year, with the possibility of a day camp as well as one where high school teens can receive more advance culinary training.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
oversized portions

Here are the trends FSD's Chefs’ Council members wish would go away.

Kale Gluten-free Sriracha Chipotle Microgreens on everything Sous vide cooking Aversion to bread Healthy desserts Vegan diets Lies about local sourcing/organic food Fast food Cupcakes Pumpkin spice Fat-free or low-fat Meatless Mondays Bread cones Rigid child nutrition guidelines Bacon on everything Cajun Doughnuts with over-the-top toppings Oversized portions Fried foods Pinterest
Ideas and Innovation
Frose

Frose, sushi burgers and single-item restaurants are hot topics as of late, according to Forbes, which recently released a list of seven buzzwords in the foodservice world. Here’s what’s trending, in no particular order.

Blended burgers Frozecco and frose Goth food Hemp Single-item restaurants Sushi burger Upcycling
Industry News & Opinion
MeuDirections

One of my favorite cartoons shows a commander whose soldiers are in the midst of fighting a war with bows and arrows. Without turning around, he tells a man who has come up behind him, “I’m sorry, I’m too busy to talk to you.” The man was a rifle salesman.

In today’s time-pressed world, we are all too busy. So, it can be difficult to find time to reach out to others for ideas, solutions and best practices. But as that cartoon illustrates, it’s critical to being successful. The sharing of knowledge is a pillar of FoodService Director . Through our magazine and events, we have been...

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

FSD Resources