Written by Cory Chimka
You could smell it all the way down the hall.
As curious students, teachers and administrators wandered toward Room 258 at the behest of their noses, they heard chops and sizzles mixed with the din of busy budding chefs and dieticians. And when they reached the doorway, they were astonished to find that Mr. Barr’s sixth, seventh and eighth grade Social Studies classroom at MacFarland Middle School had been transformed into a full-service commercial kitchen for the afternoon through a partnership between DC SCORES and Brainfood’s new Community MVPs program.
Brainfood Community MVPs is a year-long program (September - May) where past Brainfood graduates use their leadership skills to plan, facilitate, and deliver healthy cooking workshops to the DC community.
On Tuesday’s menu? Healthy Chicken Broccoli Penne Alfredo!
As I approached one of about 10 cooking stations that filled the room, DC SCORES poet-athletes were eager to tell me what they had already learned from their new friends, high school students from all over Washington, DC, acting as Brainfood Community MVPs and leading the day’s activities.
“We’re making broccoli with chicken and cheese, and learning how to cook healthy food!” Mario T. reported excitedly. “It’s healthy because it has broccoli. It’s low-fat and it doesn’t have nothing bad in it.”
Christopher B. chimed in, “Low-fat cream cheese mixed with parmesan means it’s better for us, but still delicious,” as he carefully leveled just a teaspoon of salt “to keep it low-sodium.”
Elisio B. recapped, “We learned how to chop broccoli, how to measure garlic, and how to safely use the burner on the stove.”
Community MVP Nnedimma U., a junior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, looked on with pride as the room fell silent with the exception of munching and “mmmmmms.“
“Brainfood visited Banneker at the beginning of the year. It appealed to me because I didn’t know how to cook. Now I am able to teach others!”
Nnedimma then added: “You know, I was in DC SCORES at Bunker Hill Elementary School in fourth, fifth and sixth grade!”
Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful partnership and great things to come from DC SCORES and Brainfood.