Friday, July 26, 2013

Adios Amigos! Auf Wiedersehen! Sayonara! Ciao!



We got started right away today... first having a demonstration from Pearlanna on how to make delicious muffins. Next we asked campers to complete a few surveys and post test to see what they learned this week. We also use their responses in improving the camp and writing articles like this one!

Once they were finished, campers enjoyed a delicious continental breakfast... complete with the muesli Jackson prepared yesterday and fresh berries from Gabby's backyard. As campers enjoyed their breakfast, we brought our world tour full circle and back to Centre County. Chef gave a presentation of the different types of fresh food and culture you can find right here at home!

Campers then headed back to their kitchens for the final day of cooking to really begin! Each kitchen was in charge of preparing their own homemade pizza, along with a supplemental recipe for the reception! The campers used their expanded palettes to get a little adventurous with their pizza toppings! However they chose to present it though, it was sure to come out scrumptious!

After a few minutes of Wii time, the campers were in their seats to hear one last word from Chef, perhaps one of the most important ones of the week...etiquette! As campers listened, the pizzas came out of the oven and other favorite dishes from the week made their way back into the kitchens. We saw appearances from the Red Lentil Dal, Quesadillas, and Miso Soup... just to name a few!

Friends and family pouring into the Foods Lab in 007 Henderson at exactly noon to enjoy the delicious food and beverages campers prepared throughout the week. Campers toured their loved ones around the lab to different kitchens for the opportunity to sample all different types of food. An award ceremony followed the feast, where each camper was recognized and awarded and their own personalized title. Cook Like a Chef! Ethnic Camp 2013 proved to be a tasty time, and it's safe to say these campers have become quite the world travelers... or at least their palettes have!!


We hope to see you next summer! 


PS. Want to see more photos from today? Click on the linked caption below the photo!! 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Touring Europe and the Mediterranean


We kicked off the day with a presentation and discussion on the Mediterranean culture, lifestyle, and diet. Stephanie explained many of the features of the region, including the vast landscape (a popular tourist destination, to say the least) and the architecture. We also can't forget the ever so popular Mediterranean diet - famous for being "heart-healthy". It emphasizes legumes, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and limited meat and sweets... a trend that seemed to follow with the days recipes!

Before the campers were able to sample some of the different types of olive oil, Allison talked about the cuisine and culture in various European countries like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and France. She also shared with the campers some of her very own stories and pictures from her recent trip to Italy!

It was almost time to hit the kitchen, but Chef had a few surprises in store for the campers first. Adam, Bram, and Caden got the job of demonstrating how to make homemade butter and buttermilk (both used later on for their recipes). And then, the whole camp got to meet Pierre-Adrien, all the way from France via Skype (Hooray for technology and the world wide web!) He explained to us some of the things served for breakfast in his home and served for lunch at school. What a treat to hear first hand about the culture in a different country!

Then it was time to hit the kitchen! Campers scurried back to their stations to get started right away on their recipes. After 3 days, they certainly know the drill now! Campers really got to test their skills today -- for example, making homemade baguettes and pasta, working with phyllo dough, and making perfectly thin and delicious crepes! Everything looked and smelled so good that no one could stay away from 007 Henderson today! Not even Penn State's beloved, Mike the Mailman, who stopped in to help some of the campers finish off their recipes!

We finished off the day with a Muesli demonstration from Jackson, along with the help of his Sous Chef, Chef Corr, while Jess helped the campers put together their chef hats. Prepare for their debut tomorrow, your campers are sure to be cooking in style!

As the week comes to a close, none of us can believe how quickly the Cook Like a Chef! Ethnic Camp 2013 has gone by! Campers have learned so much the past couple of days, and are looking forward to showing off their favorite dishes tomorrow during the reception from 12PM - 1PM in the Foods Lab in 007 Henderson Building. We hope to see you there!

Want to see more photos from today? Click on the linked caption below the photo!!



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Day, A New Location!


Next stop on our world tour? Asia! Counselor Abbey led our tour of the continent with her presentation on the culture, cuisine, and attractions of countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, and Thailand. Many campers had visited countries in this area, so they were no stranger to the sweet and spicy flavor profiles this region is known for.

After visiting the southern countries, we were off to the eastern coast of the region - China, Japan, and Korea - with Counselor Nichelle leading the way. She explained many traditional dishes found in the region, and shared many "fun facts" with the campers. Did you know: the Great Wall of China is 13,000 miles long?!

Chef Corr's demonstration today included a quick tutorial on sushi making. We learned that in Japan, the art of rinsing sushi rice...really is an art. Some Japanese Chefs are in school for nearly a year - just learning how to properly make the rice! Once the demonstration was complete, our young chefs headed back to the kitchen to start making the recipe for the day!

We're getting into the groove now -- we know where everything is located, are working as a team, and are making delicious recipes! What does that make for? An early served meal, of course! Campers were finished preparing their recipes nearly an hour before usual, and most were able to make a wildcard recipe as well.

The spread of dishes was full of color today - ranging from a bright and beautiful Cabbage with Coconut to Vegetable Rolls to Green Curry with Asian Eggplant and Chicken. These campers sure have experienced palettes -- they gobbled up the meal!

Since we started eating early, we finished eating early... leaving the campers with a bit of free time to do crafts or play the Wii (after finishing washing dishes before!!). As the day came to a close, campers watched a demonstration on how to make their own chai tea, while camper Taran lended a big hand in creating the final product!

Our final stop? Europe and the Mediterranean!

Want to see more photos from today? Click on the linked caption below the photo! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sailing Away!



Our hot air balloon launched today and headed south--toward Mexico, Central America, and South America.  Counselor Stef Chicoski led the excursion, showing photos of sunny beaches, Mayan ruins and a reggae band.  The campers are ready!  Many had traveled in the region and all were very eager to sample the tortillas, enchiladas and quesadillas that were on today's menu.  The tortilla press was in action for three different homemade versions--whole wheat, white and ones made with masa harina--and the accompanying Pico de Gallo and Guacamole had just the right amount of heat.

But the star of today's show was clearly Chef Seymira Salamy, who came in to talk about African foods as we sailed over the Atlantic to the Ivory Coast in western Africa. Plantains are a common food in Africa and we learned all about how to choose and prepare them from a Master Chef contender who now has a catering and personal chef business. The former rugby star still cares about fitness though!  She works at KoKoFit in State College and counsels clients about how to balance intake and outgo to live a healthy lifestyle.

Chef Seymira captivated the campers with her tales of her native land.  We could feel the heat of the Sahara and imagine the pesky monkey that eluded the police force in her town 10 minutes from the beach. She showed us how to wrap a towel and place it on your head to carry a basket, and explained the outdoor cooking methods that used wood. Fresh food is the mainstay in Africa--little processed foods at all--and people shop at the markets and buy local fruits and vegetables.  Coconuts, peanuts, corn, cassava, mangoes, and her father's favorite--papaya--are abundant and appear on the menu.  The plantain dish that Chef Seymira demonstrated used ripe plantains that were deep yellow with a few black spots.  She showed how to slip them out of their skins, slice them, and toss them with fresh rosemary, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper before deep frying them in peanut oil.  Crispy when done, and delicious! The campers gobbled them up.

What a shame that Chef Seymira couldn't stay for lunch which included a typical chicken, tomato and kale stew served with Coconut Rice and a Peanut Sauce.  She would have loved that--and the Coconut Pie and Coconut Triangles too! The Ginger Beer is one of her favorites, and refreshing frescas with watermelon and mango matched nicely with the tropical flavors that we sampled today.

After clean up Chef Corr demonstrated how to cut a pineapple, mango and papaya and then the campers got to try the scoring trick.  And they had a ball with the melons. How fun! Fresh fruit is always a good snack and it's easy to include more in your diet if you expand your horizons beyond apples and oranges.

Next stop--Asia!     

Want to see more photos from today? Click on the linked caption below the photo! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Let the Journey Begin!


Happy Monday! And an even more Happy Day 1 of the Cook Like a Chef! Ethnic Foods Camp! Campers all arrived on time to start camp by 9AM sharp. Your campers have the opportunity to participate in research that we use to see how cooking influences food choices... Just like last week, we asked the campers to fill out a few surveys to see what the campers know. They will be tested and surveyed again at the end of the week to see what all they learned!

Chef explained to the campers where we get our taste preferences from, and then campers were able to do a taste test of their own to challenge their palettes. They sampled two different pastas - one with and one without salt - and they tasted the difference! The key to using salt? Know the right time to use it!

Chef also explained the general lab procedures for working in the kitchen and safety issues too! Next, campers picked out their kitchens and their team, and then got familiar with their "territory" for the next week with a Hide'n'Seek activity. Once the campers had gotten the lay of the land, Chef gave a demonstration for how to make your own stir fry!

Campers then migrated back to their kitchen to give it a go themselves! This first recipe really gave campers the chance to experiment -- with 4 different types of rice, and a plethora of vegetables to choose from, each kitchen really made this recipe their own!

After lunch, Chef gave one last demonstration about how to properly wash dishes.. (Parents, make sure you test their knowledge!!) As quick as the day began, it was over! We can't wait to see what our campers will whip up tomorrow when they travel to Central and South America and Africa!

Want to see more photos from today? Click on the linked caption below the photo! 

Fun, Fresh, and Local!



After a busy week, staff and counselors took a bit of a break last Thursday and went blueberry picking! The farm is located in Julian, Pennsylvania -- only a short half hour drive from State College. Even the heat couldn't keep us away from the plump blueberries waiting to be picked! The evening concluded with a nice potluck dinner... filled with delicious salads and entrees!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cook Like a Chef! Basics Camp 2013 -- That's a Wrap!!



We got started right away today... first asking campers to complete a few surveys and a post test so we can see what they learned this week, and also use their responses in improving the camp and writing research articles like this one! Jess then gave us a presentation on MyPlate and some ways to eat in a more balanced way. 

Next, Chef demonstrated how to make a perfect omelette and campers got to make their own using whatever ingredients they wanted. Ham and cheese proved to be the favorite while some campers got more adventurous with different veggies. Once campers enjoyed their breakfast, they learned how to make a homemade pizza from scratch. Campers headed back to their kitchens once the demonstration was over to make their own pizza. Some kitchens made one large pizza, while others opted for three individuals. Whichever way they chose to make their pizza, it was sure to come out scrumptious!!

Campers were in their seats by 11:45 to hear one last word from Chef, perhaps one of the most important ones of the weeks... etiquette! As campers listened, the pizzas came out of the oven and other favorite dishes from the week made their way back into the kitchens. We saw appearances from apricot bars, linguine with clam sauce, chili, and pecan crusted tilapia... just to name a few.

Friends and family poured into the Foods Lab in 007 Henderson at noon to enjoy the delicious food and beverages campers prepared throughout the week. An award ceremony followed, where each camper was recognized and awarded a medal and a special title. Cook Like a Chef! Basics Camp 2013 proved to be a tasty time. We hope to see you next week as we travel the globe in the Ethnic Chef Camp, and if not, definitely next summer! 

Want to see more photos from today? Click on the linked caption below the photo!