Students take a bite out of learning with help from EATS Park City
June 30, 2015
The fourth-graders took their seats at the tables, in groups of three or four, and waited for their instructions. Before long, they were diving in, stirring and mixing and creating, hands sticky with dough.
The children, who were from all four Park City School District elementary schools, were participating in a cooking class put on June 24 and June 25 by EATS Park City, a group that promotes healthy eating in Park City schools. The classes have been held regularly for more than a year, but this one was special: Zoom hosted it, making it the first time the students have left of the classroom to visit a restaurant.
"It’s a little bit easier to do this in the summer, without school," said Courtney Caplan, an EATS Park City board member who organized the classes. "This was a great opportunity to get the kids on a field trip, in an actual restaurant. It’s cool for them to see the restaurant, see people working in the restaurant and see them prepping for lunch, as well."
Jordan Harvey, executive chef at Zoom, said the restaurant’s staff was excited to host the students. Harvey directed them in making piroshkies, a bun stuffed with fillings, and several volunteers helped them concoct their meals.
"We were talking about how we want to be part of the community, and EATS had reached out to us and it all came together," Harvey said. "We just want to get involved. We have a lot of locals, and I think a lot of the children in this program have family members that are in the hospitality industry, so it’s pretty cool for them to come out and see. Maybe they don’t get to see what their parents do so much, but they get to see a little bit of it here."
Harvey said it was fun to teach the students how to make something from scratch, without processed foods. Keeping their attention for two hours proved to be the biggest challenge, but the overall experience was rewarding.
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"You get to hang out with kids all morning," he said. "That’s not so bad at all. They’ve definitely been pretty excited about it, and it’s been fun to be able to engage with them."
Watching the students make something they’d likely never eaten before was exciting for Caplan. She said it’s important for them to expand their gustatory horizons at a young age and discover new foods.
"It’s nice because they are making a new recipe," she said. "I would venture a guess that most of these kids have never even heard of a piroshky, much less made them. This is one recipe, but it’s really a tool for them to expand on it. So if they don’t want to put peas and carrots in their piroshkies next time, they can put whatever they want in it. Maybe they want to do a different meat, or they want to do it all-vegetarian or a sweet fruit one."
When they were finished, the students even got to take some of the piroshkies home. Caplan said that was one of the best aspects of the event.
"That really is exciting for us because we always send the recipes home, but we can’t always send the food home," she said. "So this is allowing the kids to take the piroshkies home, then have a conversation with their families about what they did today."
Bellie Andrews, a student who goes to McPolin Elementary School said she wanted to take the class because her family loves to cook and she enjoys when people eat what she’s made. But the best part other than actually eating the piroshkies? Getting messy, she said.
"The dough is fun," she said. "It got really stuck to my hands."
For more information about EATS Park City, or to volunteer, visit eatsparkcity.org.