School Day Cafe teaches students how to prepare a healthy meal

Jo Kremer, an area supervisor at School Day Cafe, shows students from Fair Oaks Elementary basic cooking techniques at a demonstration held at their Valencia facility Friday morning. February 07, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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For School Day Cafe’s 25th year, they hosted their first “Kids Cooking” demonstration of the year Friday morning where fourth-graders from Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary School learned basic cooking skills. 

“At this event, students will make and prepare an enjoyable and satisfying meal while we teach them how to use simple preparation skills and culinary techniques that they could use to prepare foods at home with their family,” said Jane Crawford, director of children nutrition programs with School Day Cafe. 

A fourth-grader from Fair Oaks Elementary School slices the top off of an eggplant during Friday’s cooking demonstration. February 07, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Students were split into groups to prepare fresh salsa, fruit kabobs, chicken meatballs, bowtie pasta, green tea ice cream and more. 

“My favorite part is the enthusiasm of the students being able to choose a meal to go through the nutritional guidelines and how to prepare the meals,” said Crawford. 

According to Crawford, School Day Cafe serves more than 9,000 lunches and 4,500 breakfasts to the elementary school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Brittany Young, a chef at School Day Cafe, leads students from Fair Oaks Elementary, in a cooking activity at a demonstration held at the organization’s Valencia facility Friday morning. February 07, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Each year, the cafe invites one class from each district, except for the Saugus Union School District, which invites two classes. 

Providing students with skills that they can take home to prepare their own healthy meals at home is a goal of the program, a School Day Cafe flier said. 

While the students prepared food, instructors explained the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  “My Plate,” which includes filling half a plate with fruits and vegetables. 

Kitchen staff at School Day Cafe showed students from Fair Oaks Elementary basic cooking techniques at a demonstration held at their Valencia facility Friday morning. February 07, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“The reason why it is important to teach this to kids is because this is our last chance to get kids excited about eating healthy,” said Robert Lewis, CEO of School Day Cafe. “Cooking teaches the students social skills and how to get along with one another.” 

Once students finished preparing their meal, they hosted a luncheon for their guests to enjoy what they created. This year, the students decided that the luncheon’s theme would be “Around the World” to celebrate different cultures, Crawford said. 

“We want the kids to be able to identify healthy foods, because we want them to live a long and healthy life,” said Lewis. 

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