In the Kitchen with SMCS Cuisine
Preparing pico de gallo (salsa), guacamole and a burrito bowl. That was the task at hand for seven students from grades 7 to 12, and two staff moderators during the March (Nutrition Month) installment of St. Michael’s College School’s SMCS Cuisine.
It is one of more than 60 clubs and activities served up after school, with the kitchen in the SMCS cafeteria providing the backdrop.
“I wanted to be a part of something that helps kids learn their way in the kitchen,” says Tyler Hill, English and Religion teacher at SMCS and one of two staff moderators of SMCS Cuisine. “Kids need to be able to function in the kitchen before they head away to university,” he says.
Hill is now in his second year as a moderator of the activity. He adds, “We have enough space for 8-10 students each session. We have always filled these spots. I think the kids like having the skills to be able to produce good quality food for themselves.”
With cooking instructors, Fina Scroppo (thehealthyitalian.ca) and Julie Miguel (dailytiramisu.com) leading the Mexican-themed lesson, the boys learned the art of kitchen prep, the science of chopping and slicing, invaluable tips and tricks on cutting onions and spicy peppers while limiting the tears, as well as how to follow a recipe --- during the 90-minute session.
FOR EVERY PALATE
“Building those life-skills in the kitchen will set them up in the future to do great things --- to be motivated, to feel comfortable enough to try new things,” says Scroppo, who together with Miguel form The Happy Kitchen team.
“We like to ask the students what they want to learn to cook. And we also look at their lifestyle,” says Miguel. “They’re busy students, they’re athletes --- they’re really busy all the time. So we try to gear our recipes towards students and also making things that are really accessible to them,” she says.
The activity runs four times throughout the academic year.
“I love being involved in it,” says Cathy DiNunzio, Executive Assistant to the President and Principal at SMCS who is the other staff moderator of SMCS Cuisine. “I love learning from the kids. They are so enthusiastic!”
Watch the SMCS Cuisine in action: