NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. — The ‘Loading Dock to Lunch Line’ two-day workshop has drawn a crowd of over 110 participants to become ‘Farm to School Chefs’ in the Mohawk Valley and surrounding areas. This hands-on training focuses on culinary skills and strategies to support the increased use of fresh, local and whole foods in school kitchens.
The workshop is delivered by Chef Jim Birmingham, who has spent eleven years at the New England Culinary Institute as a culinary instructor, and Chef Tim Hardiman, owner and Executive Chef of Utica’s first Farm-to-Table restaurant, The Tailor and the Cook.
During the week of August 6th, the first group of school food service workers participated in the hands-on culinary training at SUNY Cobleskill. Over forty school food service workers from thirteen school districts took part in hands-on cooking activities and rich discussions on the unique challenges and benefits of using fresh, local foods in school kitchens. The second group of seventy additional food service professionals, representing twenty-four school districts, will be receiving the same training on August 21st through 24th at Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES. Upon completion, ‘Loading Dock to Lunch Line’ will have trained over 110 school cafeteria staff as ‘Farm to School Chefs’.
Each ‘Farm to School Chef’ received a culinary kit containing tools such as knives and a cutting board. The first forty districts to apply for the workshop will also receive a choice between a food processor or an immersion blender to increase their kitchen’s capacity to process fresh produce.
This training is part of a New York State Ag & Markets Farm to School grant, led by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Schools from Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, Schoharie, Otsego, Fulton, and Montgomery counties were invited to attend the workshop, where participants explored knife skills, cooking methods, and strategies for preparing and serving fresh, local produce.
For more information, please contact Ashleigh deCarr at email@example.com or 315-736-3394 Ext. 115
–Cornell Cooperative Extension
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