CHEF Camp teaches cooking, nutrition to youths

(07/25/16) NEW ORLEANS – For a week in July, 16 youths spent seven hours a day at the Tulane University Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine to learn about health and nutrition.

They were attending the LSU AgCenter and Southern University Ag Center CHEF Camp to participate in five days of activities to promote healthy lifestyles, said AgCenter nutrition agent Bertina McGhee.

CHEF stands for Cooking Healthy and Enjoyable Foods. “We teach them basic nutrition as well as hands-on cooking skills, cooking terminology, kitchen safety, food safety, etiquette and manners,” McGhee said.

One of 13 conducted throughout Louisiana, the camp was held for 9- to 14-year-olds by the LSU AgCenter and Southern University Ag Center in partnership with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. The curriculum was developed by Sharman Charles, EFNEP program manager in the LSU AgCenter School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, and De’Shoin York Friendship, nutrition specialist in the Southern University Ag Center.

During the week, the campers made a variety of recipes, including pizza, chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, fruit salsa with cinnamon chips, quesadillas and ice cream.

The program was offered as one of the NORDC summer camp opportunities, McGhee said.

“We have had perfect attendance,” McGhee said. A parent or surrogate had to be with each youth when they signed in and when they left for the day.

Tracy Valdary brought her twin daughters Victoria and Sophia.

“I like the program,” Valdary said. “It’s very interesting. The girls learn a lot and meet new people, too. They come excited.”

Corey Lashley, 12, said his mother encouraged him to participate “because I like cooking. I came here so I could learn how to cook more.”

“The week is fun,” he added. “Today we’re fixing pizza and chicken.”

Anjanique Henderson celebrated her 12th birthday on the final day of the camp.

“I came because I always wanted to be a chef – and it’s fun,” she said. “The fruit salad was delicious.”

In addition to McGhee, the sessions were taught by AgCenter nutrition agent Emelia Clement. Ten dietetic technician interns from Delgado Community College helped with the cooking instruction.

One of the Delgado students was Sonia Ourso.

Ourso signed up her daughter, Angela Kamratowski, so she would learn about cooking and nutrition for herself. “When someone else tells children, they’re more likely to listen,” Ourso said.

After enrolling her daughter in the camp, Ourso learned that she would be one of the teaching helpers as part of her internship rotation.

One activity included a grocery store game, where youths were charged with selecting a basket of groceries that reflect all parts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate program.

They were presented a shelf with a variety of foods with prices marked and had to choose healthy foods without exceeding $12.

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CHEF Camp participant Aaliyah Christy takes part in a grocery store game, where campers are charged with selecting a basket of groceries that include healthy foods without exceeding $12 as marked on the packages they choose. Photo by Rick Bogren

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Lanah Lewis and Jerrime McAfee, two participants in CHEF Camp in New Orleans, take a test on July 22 about what they have learned during the week’s activities. Photo by Rick Bogren

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Delgado Community College dietetic technician interns Martina Steward and Fausto Moscat prepare for the day’s cooking lesson during CHEF Camp in New Orleans on July 22. Photo by Rick Bogren

7/26/2016 1:50:20 PM
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