Bill’s Blog. The Second Edition, spring 2016
Spring is beginning to stir and it’s time to shed the winter blues and get outside to see gardens bloom all over town. KGL has lots of exciting stuff coming up.
Easter Egg Roll decorations at The White House
The White House kitchen garden is our inspiration!!!
The KGL and STEM
Vayu Maini Rekdal of YOUNG CHEFS PROGRAM and I will be doing the workshop with NYC DOE STEM Institute again this year and this time with some principals as well as teachers so we will get a bigger bang for our buck by reaching a wider audience for our gardening, cooking, science workshop.
On March 5th our 92Y lecture “Nature’s FARM-acy” was a great chance to gauge the interest in using cooking to teach science and it sold out immediately. It was very reassuring to know that people support this kind of educational initiative. It was a great crowd and thoughtful questions about how to implement cooking as a way to get kids interested in their own health and their own brains. Click here to hear more!
SPOONS ACROSS AMERICA one of our partner groups specializing in food literacy, health and wellness for school kids which has an awesometastic program to teach kids about their food choices will have their Spring Gala on April 7 at the Essex House. I am one of the benefit chairs and Jacques Pepin will be presenting the award for excellence to the incredible Gail Simmons for her efforts to improve kids lives and choices.
Here is the link: http://spoonsacrossamerica.org/2016-spring-benefit/
KTICHEN GARDEN LABORATORY IN OUTER SPACE!!
There is so much exciting science going on right now in all fields and that may be one reason people like to follow the latest news. We always love to hear about astronomy and food —as you know what we call gAstronomy and our friend and colleague Dr Steve Howell was telling us about LIGO the detector that received a signal of gravity waves emanating from two black holes colliding 1.3 billion light years away (and therefore 1.3 billion years ago) It is amazing to think that something soooo long ago produces a shock wave that reaches us today. This the first time such an event was recorded and it happened as they were just setting up the machine! It was communication like Edison’s first phone call, “ Mr Watson, Come here! I want you!”
LIGO which is co-located in Washington State and Louisiana was being tested and four days away from going live and BOOM the gravity wave crashed into it. What a spectacular start to a new era of gravity wave astronomy. Be sure to keep in touch with us as we will be interviewing aliens about their recipes soon I am sure.
What does this have to do with cooking? Well food is one of the ways we explore the science that exists in our kitchen– the same rules apply to our chocolate soufflé as an event such as GW150914 the name of this particular gravity wave collision, up to now we on earth have been deaf to this kind of event, now with LIGO we can hear these spectacular phenomenon and investigate a whole new way of learning about the universe.
No less interesting!! dot dot dot is our Spring benefit at Bouley Botanicals on May 2, in New York City! Well to us at least. David Bouley has generously offered to host our barn raiser, or garden raiser more accurately, at his incredible green space that is filled with plants all chosen for their health benefits. We are part of his “THE DOCTOR AND THE CHEF” series which brings medical and culinary innovators together to address the common challenge of diet related health problems.
HERE IS THE LINK;
There is a silent auction which is kindly supported by the best New York restaurants and of course fabulous food and interesting people. Hope you can make it.
Bill’s Blog, Volume One
Gosh, where to start ? Things really picked up over the summer here at KGL and the momentum carried us right through the fall.
Our raised beds at Northfield Elementary in Minnesota are doing very well. Christian Purnell created a wonderful partnership between KGL and Carleton College’s Young Chef’s Program. Our raised beds help children learn about healthy food through science-based cooking classes!
The James John Elementary Greenhouse in Portland is also enjoying incredible success thanks to our local gardeners Ethan Moses and Robbie Daigle
Click here to watch a six minute movie about this program. I had so much fun cooking with James John children and their parents.
KGL partners with STEM INSTITUTE
I was so thrilled earlier in the year when I received a call from the New York City Board of Education to come visit their STEM office. ThIs meeting resulted in a KGL partnership with Young Chefs Program to offer a workshop at the NYC Board of ED STEM INSTITUTE
What a leap forward for us as Vayu Maini-Rekdal, Roberto Welch, Charlie Fabella and myself crafted a program on cooking and STEM with the educator at NYC BOE, George Georgilakis
We were so inspired by George’s passion and expertise in the area of education around STEM. George is truly a gifted educator and we in NYC are lucky to have him.
The keynote speech of the Institute was kicked off by Matthew Petersen who gave a talk on new thinking around math education. And we played with an interesting kind of etch-a-sketch.
Memorable moment during George’s presentation: Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation
During a study of 5th graders, one group received a prize or treat when they got right answers or good test scores and the other group only got the corrected paper telling them their answers were right or wrong.
At the end of the year the students were tested to see which group was a more engaged bunch, who loved school more, who did independent study, etc. Which group do you think loved school more? Wrong!
The students who received treats for their correct answer scored much lower on the scale of engagement, and love of learning, love of school and desire to continue!
The students who only were told when they were right and wrong had much higher scores on the love of learning scale. WOW!
It seems that those who received a treat for a correct answer considered it “case closed”…in other words, “OK, I performed. I got my prize. We are done here”.
The others learned the intrinsic thrill of discovery and learning. At that point Matthew Petersen quoted Richard Feynman: “The pleasure of finding things out”
photos of NYC BOE sent separately
We will be working with them further to develop cooking/science lesson plans because the teachers were inspired by the classes.
Off to Boston.
Next KGL went to Boston again to partner there once again with YoungChefsProgram.org to teach a series of classes sponsored by the Harvard Medical School to students from Native American communities.
Vayu and I taught the subjects of the e Native American ingredients:
cacao (chocolate), corn and chili peppers.
We discussed the chemistry, physics and biology of all three as we cooked with the students to illustrate our examples.
The lesson plans are available at
The food was SO FRIGGIN DELICIOUS the teachers and students also shared their traditional recipes and cooked them with us.
In Los Angeles
There is so much happening around food activism I can not keep up
Dr Wendy Slusser and Dr Amy Rowat of UCLA have partnered with several community groups to bring student interns in touch with areas of need.
There are so many great groups in LA here are a few.
MEND Meeting Every Need with Dignity
Mend brings medical and food help for the area
VENICE FAMILY CLINIC
UCLA students gave cooking classes for kids while they wait with their parents during appointments. What a huge success!
Background: Rick Nahmias was walking his dog a while ago and he saw lots of citrus fruit on the ground in neighborhood yards. He thought it would be a good idea to pick it up and distribute it to community kitchens. That simple formula today gleans food from farmer’s markets and wholesale distributors to the tune of thousands of tons of food a year. That is a monumental melody!
Seeds of Change
The episcopal diocese has made food justice its primary goal here. PRIMARY GOAL!! They have devised so many ways to interact with those who need help — among them is community gardens and cooking events,.
Kindred Spirits — John Wooden High School
Peanut the pig lives here!!! and she rules the farmyard with her princess-ly behavior. Farm chores and gardening has helped to prompt a 90% graduation rate. When I visited we cooked Vegan Sweet Potato Pancakes with and they were perfect if we do say so ourselves!
“TO LIVE AND DINE IN LA; MENUS AND THE SOUL OF A CITY”
Josh Kun and Roy Choi had the book launch to end all book launches at the Regent Theater. I met the celebrity scribe of Obamafoodorama there and we danced or more realistically swayed to the range of music hiphop, opera, rock, and mariachi. The book is based on the LA Public Library Collection of 15,000 menus from the late 1800’s on. The. Best. Party. Evah.