The new best cafeteria!

Okay, so I am going to let you in on a little secret. I went to a high school, where we actually had a chef who tried to use the freshest and local ingredients. Our cafeteria actually won best cafeteria in the country one year way back when. Unfortunately, he retired. However, in my last year of high school, Chef Jess came along and really changed how our school saw food.

He started out with selling fair trade coffee. He then moved on to other, bigger and yummier things. He then opened up the Food School, right inside of the high school!

WOW!

His design is to use the local food in his school and his ingredients for the food that he and his student make.

Not only that, but Chef Jess is encouraging the students at the school to think actively about the food they eat. He offers a healthy alternative to the cafeteria.

“Starting with the purchase of local, bulk produce from farmers in the mainly rural area of the high school the students learned that food acquired at this time of year, when the bounty is high, is less expensive and, if preserved correctly, better tasting by far than anything bought in a grocery store,” he explains in a Canadian Press article.

This program, as well as the fully functional store (The Pantry) and the catering business (Cater Wellington) are not the only projects Chef Jess has in mind.

He is hoping to open a school-run sustainable farm. “It’s great to talk about and learn about real food, so we started this [project],” he said back in September at the Taste-Real Field Dinner.

He also told me that, it would include an auto class that will work on tractors and building hand tools that you would see in the garden, including alternative fuel systems. A landscaping class will look at horticulture and greenhouse management. A philosophy and English class will be geared toward sustainable agriculture. This idea will be wrapped up into a four-credit semester.

What a great way to teach the younger generations about being self-sustainable!

A round of applause to Chef Jess for this amazing idea. As an alumnus of the school, I cannot wait to see it in its operation!

You can check out the food school HERE

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Taste Real Field Dinner

“Get ready to loosen your belts!” said Mark Kenny, toasting the two hundred guests attending Taste-Real event, in Puslinch, Ontario.

Taste-Real’s Field Dinner celebrates Guelph and Wellington’s fresh harvest. It is a fundraiser event for local food agencies, such as the Guelph Food Bank and the Garden Fresh Food Box Program.

The most important part of this whole event: the local food.

“Local Food means starting at your home, growing what you can, and going out from there” said Kate Vsetula, a volunteer coordinator at the event, “There’s nothing better than knowing where your food comes from, and supporting your local economy, and the health of your family.”

This year’s special guest included Chef Lynn Crawford from the Food Network, who could not stress the importance of local food. “Its all about the chefs, the farmers, the growers coming together to share a wonderful meal on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon.”

The local chefs were preparing roasted farm fresh chicken, while bakers prepared their local grain bread. Even the students of the local Food School were preparing a local peach dessert.

“If I can connect directly to the person who produced without the supply chain between us, I can have a better handle on community,” said baker, David MacRae, “the personal connection makes it taste better.”

The funds raised goes in part to the Guelph Food Bank, where food isn’t just non-perishable.

“Buy local and share local,” said Tracy Marchesich, from the Guelph food bank “A lot of people have the misconception that the food bank is only boxes and cans, but that’s not the case. We have the capacity for ten skids worth of product in our walk-in fridge, so we are trying to encourage the community to donate fresh as well.”

The people really enjoyed themselves, as everyone agreed: “Local just tastes better!”

Check out the photos from the event!