Stirring Up Change In a Community Near You

Teen Battle Chef, is a program of FamilyCook Productions in over 75 schools and community sites across the U.S. Over half are sponsored in high schools by HealthCorps. This blog began in summer 2010 when FamilyCook invited NYC Teen Battle Chefs to participate in internships working with chefs in restaurants, teaching younger children cooking, growing food in food deserts, and cooking in farmers markets across 5 boroughs. In fall 2010, our program continues and thanks to Robin Quivers, her run in the NYC Marathon in November, will provide critical funding so our Teen Battle Chef programs in CT and in HealthCorps schools in NJ can experience these transformational internships as well.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rocco Dispirito visit to UAMA High!

"Talking to Chef Rocco, and learning how to keep the foods you like, but make them healthy for you was really cool. I want to take out white foods because those things are really bad for you. I learned that it is good to eat fats, but in moderation. My most valuable assest is my life" - Brianno

Rocco with Brianno, Emma and Shamere 

"I was a sou chef for the first time with Rocco. I learned about nutrients. I thought it was awesome how we decided to make unhealthy foods taste the same but be healthier. "- Emma Moise

"The food was really healthy and tasty!" - Ava

"I think its really cool how he takes the recipes tastier and healthier" - William Marshall

"He's so dreamy!" - Aaron Taylor

HealthCorps Gala 2012

HealthCorps Students had a ball selling Salsa, serving Vietnamese spring rolls and sharing their experiences in Teen Battle Chef @Gala 2012! 

Students prepping spring rolls in the Waldorf Astoria's kitchen! 

"My experience at the Gala hosted at the Astoria Hotel, was just incredible! I honestly, received a preview of what I want my future to look like. Apart from that, I was honored to work side by side these other students whom I've just met the same day. Cooking is definitely something I'd love to pursue in the future. - Pastor Solano 

Teens tabling and stealing the crowd! 

"It was my first time actually participating at the Heath Corps Gala and it was amazing. Meeting new people, coming together with the other schools to prep/make the spring rolls and salsa, as well as help West Side High School sell their salsa in the TBC booth was an unforgettable experience. I would most defiantly volunteer for this event again or any other event Health Corps has planned. I really had a great time!"
- Genesis Demera 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maybelline, Liz, and Iskask take on the French Culinary Institute!

"I feel happy since this is the school. I want to attend (  ) this experience helped me meet new people and chefs that in turn fueled more of my dreams." - Iskask Lavan

"I am so amazed at this school, it's absolutely incredible. Being here makes me get more of a drive to pursue culinary.  Dreaming of being in this school since I was 13 or so. Amazing experience. it was worth getting a minor cut. definitely an awesome time - Elizabeth Cordero

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Teens "Flipping the Table"

TBC partnered with Flip The Table for an afternoon filled with cooking, led by TBC's themselves, and great group discussion about carbon footprint and commodification, facilitated by the Flip The Table teens. 

TBC, Maybelline Amaya from UAMA leads teens through "Veggie ID" exercise where they try a variety of seasonal veggies and have to identify what they are. 

Flip the Table and TBC teens working together

"I have to say that the panzanella recipe tasted AMAZING! I enjoyed cooking, meeting new people and sharing ideas. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully we can do it again” – Maybelline Amaya 

Dr. Oz USANA Battle!

In February, Teen Battle Chef students from HealthCorps schools in NY and NJ joined together to practice and prepare two delicious dishes: Kenyan Style Greens and Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens Soup! The two teams presented their dishes to an audience at Columbia University's School of Public Health for a HealthCorps and USANA press event.  The teams dazzled the crowd with their delicious recipes and presentations. The NJ team won for recipe taste and the NY team won for presentation skills! 

When asked to reflect on their experience - here is what some teen's had to say: 

"Ohh it was awesome.  I loved being in front of so many people and showing them what we had learned. I liked making and showing the dish and it was just like, "Ohh man, I'm actually cooking in front of so many people and professional chefs and especially Dr. Oz!" It was just amazing and I will never forget that day." - Maudiel Romero, New Jersey  

"For me personally, it was a competition I will never forget because I met Dr.Oz and Lisa Oz and 2 famous chefs and the two co-founders of USANA. This competition really meant a lot because it was the first time my mom saw me in a competition and she was so proud of me. Plus meeting these kids from Jersey was cool too." - Jonathan Espinosa, Aviation HS graduate

Molly B talking to Rocco Dispirito

Maudiel, Ariel, Krystal - NJ "Kenyan Greens" Team

Judges Panel

Dr. Oz congratulating the students

BK Salsa JARRING day - "The Kids"

Today, students from Urban Assembly (UAMA) and West Side High School joined together to jar over 300 jars of Salsa, with the help of the BK Salsa team (Rob, Matt & Casey) - created and prepared by the students themselves! Hear what some the students have to say about their experience working together and learning from the 'pros' about mass producing the "Sweet Heat" West Side Salsa - "The Kids". They used many fresh ingredients: mango, cucumber, green bell pepper, red onion, ginger, cilantro, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. 

"Having this opportunity to make this salsa has opened many culinary doors for me. It has shown me that cooking is more than just random ingredients being chopped and stirred; it is a form of art that requires curiosity and imagination." – Jonathan Hernandez

"This experience was amazing - getting to interact with others outside of UAMA was great, and I also loved getting the first hand experience of making the salsa with the founders and creators!" – Emma Moise

Sarah, West Side's HC Coordinator hard at work! 

Maybelline rolling out 200 limes!

Measuring out all of our ingredients for batches

Jessica, Emma, and Maybelline enjoying some Salsa!

Boxing up the finished product! 

BK Salsa Cookoff!

In partnership with BK Salsa, a new local salsa creator and distributor, we proposed a challenge to 2 Teen Battle Chef groups – who can create the most unique and delicious salsa? Teams from Urban Assembly High School in Brooklyn and West Side High School in Manhattan were up for the challenge!

After weeks of developing the perfect recipe, the two teams created their perfect recipe and competed for the best recipe.  West Side’s “Sweet Heat” recipe won the judges and audience vote – with their combination of sweet and spicy flavors: mango, cucumber, red onion, pepper, cilantro, ginger and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. 

Urban Assembly Team: Kano, Arnes, Maybelline, Brianno, Ebony 

West Side Team: Iskask, Star, Liz 

“Making this salsa with my friends from school was great. We really put our effort into it.  The competition was great! Although everything we made came out perfect – I was still shocked when we won!” – Star, West Side High School

“Making our salsa has been one of the most amazing opportunities that I have been given.  With this experience, I now have a stronger interest in the culinary arts. I am so happy that I was part of this experience. Yay for the Brooklyn Salsa Company!” – Liz Cordero-Hernandez, West Side High School