Atelier of Taste
Health and nutrition are a priority at Elmhurst Academy. Every day students receive a healthy, house-made morning snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack created and prepared by the school’s private chef. In the planning and preparation stages the chef is mindful of the students' tastes and needs and creates dishes to tempt the palate of our students.
Healthy Choices – House-made is always best! Our chef prepares food from scratch including all sauces, dressings, soups, stock, baked goods and healthy smoothies; utilizing the fresh herbs and produce grown right in the Elmhurst Academy gardens. Healthy snacks such as gluten-free black bean brownies, vegan banana bread, granola and hummus are all prepared by the chef in the school’s on-site, commercial kitchen. Chef chooses to cook with foods made with whole grains versus refined (enriched) grains such as white flour and rice. Butter is rarely used; choosing olive oil instead for cooking and baking. Organic foods are always served when available.
To learn more about the benefits of whole grains, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov: Grains. www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains.html
Colorful Plating – It is important that beautiful and inviting meals are created for students through the Atelier of Taste.
Seed to Table – Educating the students about healthy eating practices is a part of the life-long learning at Elmhurst Academy. Where does food come from? Students learn the the seed to table concept by working in the garden. Students are challenged to interact with each other in new ways and cooperate to work toward a common goal in an environment that encourages exploration, play, and creativity. As children learn about caring for food plants ant the soil, they become global citizens. Students in preschool and kindergarten take an active role in deciding what crops they want to grow in the school gardens. Students will help plant parsley, chives, basil, mint, nasturtium and rosemary as well as tomatoes, onions, zucchini, carrots, kale, lettuce and peppers.
Sustainability Efforts -- Elmhurst Academy has a zero-waste kitchen. When the menu is planned, it is taken into consideration the food inventory from the previous week and these ingredients are utilized in creating homemade vegetable stock and sauces. Anything left is composted in the school’s on-site compost bin; that is then used to enrich the gardens.
Chef Megan Senese
Food & Nutrition Specialist
Elmhurst Academy is a member of the Illinois Farm-To-School Network. For more information, please visit: www.farmtoschool.org.
A view of the East garden that grows many vegetables, including carrots, potatoes and squash. There is also a sensory garden with lovely scented herbs such as lavender and sage.
from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics