Bon Appétit teams love working with college students who are engaged and interested in where their food comes from. But there’s a big transition for many of these students that some of our chefs try to address — and that’s moving from the support of the café, where cooked-from-scratch, fresh, flavorful food is available all day, seven days a week, to cooking on their own, whether they’re moving off campus or away after graduation.
I’ve had a chance to work with a few of our chefs over the past year to hold classes on how to cook sustainably on a budget.
Most recently I assisted Executive Chef John Krickl as he led a group of 25 Wheaton College students in an incredible cooking class, focused on strategies for purchasing groceries affordably and avoiding food waste, and created in partnership with the Center for Vocation and Career (CVC) at the Wheaton, IL, college. Most students were seniors, and getting ready to leave the support of the Bon Appétit team at Wheaton behind.
As in any good cooking class, we set up a video camera at the front of the room to give the group a good view of John’s technique. John prepared a beautiful salad, a chicken teriyaki and vegetable stir-fry with rice, and Jamaican banana salad for dessert. It was quite an achievable dinner for students to make in their own homes, especially with an expert chef and educator there to break it down.
John showed us the value of buying and maintaining a quality knife, and gave some cost- and time-saving tips, like stocking up on kitchen staples — peanut butter, curry paste, and spices — so that students don’t end up with three containers of red pepper, or conversely, are always running to the grocery store for each recipe. And students had a few insights of their own to share, from the best ways to use coupons at the local Jewel to which farmers’ markets to frequent in the warmer months. With this expanded arsenal of food know-how, this group of students is clearly ready for a summer away from school.