NHCS School Nutrition Administrators Participate in Innovative
K-12 Culinary Institute
New Hanover County Schools’ Nutrition administrators
participated with members from across the state in a North
Carolina K-12 Culinary Institute at West Smithfield Elementary
School in Smithfield, NC. The institute, designed to increase
the availability of fresh, appealing, nutritious meals at
school, was funded in part by U.S. Department of Agriculture
grants received by the North Carolina Department of Public
Instruction (NCDPI), School Nutrition.
“Nutrient-rich food means that students are getting what they need to be able to focus in the classroom. The North Carolina K-12 Culinary Institute provides tools and success strategies that may be implemented in school meals to enhance the learning environment,” said Dr. Lynn Harvey, School Nutrition Chief, NCDPI.
“This course has been a valuable resource to the managers who have attended. I plan to have more managers attend as courses are offered. The culinary techniques and recipes given are exceptional,” said Imer Smith, Director of Child Nutrition for New Hanover County Schools.
The face-to-face and online institute was developed by NCDPI, School Nutrition, and nationally-accomplished Chef Cyndie Story’s K-12 Culinary Team, in order to meet five core objectives:
- Improve student health, well-being and academic success through nutritious, appealing meals at school,
- Increase participation in high quality, enticing school nutrition programs,
- Expand capacity of local school nutrition programs to purchase, prepare and serve fresh, locally grown produce,
- Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grain-rich foods, and
- Provide continuing education opportunities for school nutrition personnel.
The menus and recipes developed for the N.C. K-12 Culinary Institute include:
- Scratch, convenience, and modified scratch products and techniques,
- Instructions written for production amounts consistent with pack or pan sizes commonly available in school kitchens, and
- Nutritional analysis files for easy import into software programs and adjustments for standardization in local education agencies (LEAs).
Planned instructional segments include topics such as knife skills,
weighing and measuring accurately, preparing foods for just-in-time
service, work simplification and scheduling, effective use of equipment,
quality food preparation and service for a variety of meats, grains,
fruits, vegetables, and condiments, and preparation of nutritious meals
that appeal to students.
The school nutrition administrators completing the N.C. K-12 Culinary Institute will support the school level chef ambassadors who are taught similar skills during the summer. These ambassadors will be prepared to teach other school nutrition professionals at the LEA/school level.