It seems that the first question I am presented with when it comes to the new culinary leadership academy is “How old do you have to be to be in the program”. The answer is always round about because even though the criteria is really 16, I reserve the right to include that kid that is ready for Kitchen Sage despite their age. Why would anyone ever want to hold back a kid from learning?
With this idea, we came up with Kitchen Sage’s 10(young)1’s! I love the idea of outreach to other great programs like Blandford Nature Center and the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Why not reach out to our future “Kitchen Sagers”?!! And you know what happened the first time I reached out to give, I got 10 fold back!
Last Friday I was asked to give a quick demo on how to cook wild mushrooms in front of the students at the Blandford Nature Center. What a gift. These kids have it GOING ON! The first thing I noticed when I pulled up, these kids were outside! Running, exploring, being a part of the ecology, not chained to a desk learning about it! These kids were sharp, polite, and down right impressive. Really the most impressive thing was the presentation that Mary Jane Dockery gave the students with a slide projector(circa 1960?)! My heart skipped so many beats with the way she inspired and interacted with the students. It was not because she had some high tech presentation, it was her passion for our planet that kept us all hanging on her words. I know that if I can be half the educator she is, Kitchen Sage could be an such a positive impact someday as her Blandford Nature Center has been to our city!
Chef Chad’s take on the program was witnessing how mushrooms were taught encompassing not just a desk in a classroom, but in a round table format that lead to a medium with paint, then finally culinary. Talk about a viewpoint from every angle!
Another thing that really impressed me was the way these kids interacted with me. I really believe they were more mature! I mean some of these kids I already knew, but to see them in the learning environment afforded to them was wicked smart and made me feel like I was the student! These kids not only had a grasp of the material, but they were all to happy to share their knowledge! I need to inspire like this if KS was going to have the same impact on our city. Also, EVERY kid was healthy, full of energy! Time to pry into the secret of Blandford’s success! The cool thing was that its NOT a secret. Nurturing is not a higher science. Nurturing is inclusion, instruction, inspiration, and a call to action. Thank you Blandford! I think every future teacher needs to spend an afternoon you! By the way, here’s a clip!
Be sure to notice how the kids serve and interact!!