March 9, 2001

San Diego City Schools Food Services Supports Classroom Learning With "Now We're Cooking"

The students of Garfield and Crawford High Schools had an opportunity to learn from the best. San Diego City Schools Food Services, in cooperation with San Diego Project Lean and the Chefs de Cuisine, provided hands-on cooking experience with the students.

Chef Joaquin Cueva demonstrates how to prepare Enchiladas Verdes de Pollo while Crawford High School Lifestyles class students Elizabeth Llanas, Lucy Gutierrez, Judith Seveit, Wendy Araujo and Brittany Smith look on.

Created by San Diego City Schools Food Services, "Now We're Cooking" was designed to promote students making healthy food choices made by the students. With the growing market of convenience foods, teens today receive most of their food intake from non-nutritive, sugar and fat-laden foods.

Project Lean is teaming with San Diego City Schools to help bring awareness to the healthier choices that the City Schools Food Services has to offer. Suzette Smith, Project Lean dietitian, and Naomi Butler, Project Lean nutritionist, helped to coordinate this event. "Through this program, we are investing in the future of these teens," said Butler. "We are teaching them to be proactive with their own health."

"Now We're Cooking" focused on students enrolled in the Cal-Safe Pregnant Minor Program and the Regional Occupational Program through Garfield High School, and students enrolled in the Lifestyles class at Crawford High School. Teacher Mary Lou Moore, who teaches students at both Garfield and Crawford High Schools, has shown a particular interest in the health of her students by supporting this program. "It's wonderful to have organizations that help kids discover healthy options, and provide cookbooks to each student as well!" said Moore.

Items on the menu for these days included enchiladas, chicken nuggets, and hummus spread. After the cooking was done, the students joined each other for a sit-down meal. Each student received a cookbook to take home containing healthy, easy to prepare meals.

Students who attended on these days had the opportunity to learn hands-on how to prepare several tasty, nutritious meals for themselves and their families…and of course taste the final product! Executive Chefs Bob McDaniel, Joaquin Cueva and sous chef Robert Robles provided their time and expertise to help teach these students. Robles currently works as a chef for UCSD at the Faculty Club; McDaniel is the president of the San Diego Chef's de Cuisine organization and works at the Bernardo Heights Country Club; and Executive Chef Joaquin Cueva works at Naval Air Station North Island for the Island Club.

Cueva, who was San Diego Chef of the Year in 1994, has assisted San Diego City Schools Food Services with similar events for the past five years. "It is always fun working with high school kids. We are teaching them, but we learn from them at the same time," said Cueva. "We always want to come back, and we enjoy participating in activities for the community."

Article submitted by: Melanie Hughes, Dietetic Intern, Utah State University.

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