Monday, December 5, 2016

@FCPDPG Yes, a tour of @atlanticcape greenhouse! Aloe, nasturtiums, radish, lemongrass... #GardenCuizine

Long overdue visit to
Academy of Culinary Arts (ACA)
Mays Landing, NJ
It felt really good to go back to my Alma mater, The Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, NJ after over a decade; 12 years to be exact. After attending ACA I went on to become an RD, both adventures were special accomplishments in my life making me a proud dietitian-chef.

This morning, the culinary students did a good job preparing healthy vegetarian breakfast entrees. Some made multigrain waffles; others made egg white omelets served with fakin' bacon and Ezekiel whole grain toast. Students also prepared Quinoa and Acai bowls. 
Garnish options included parsley, granola, apples, pomegranate, orange, banana and fresh berries.

The students worked quickly to prepare and present their plate ups for critique and review from the Chef Instructor. Chef Chelius graded as she tasted and tested the temperature of each food.
After evaluations, students then moved to the back of the kitchen and stood around a display of food products for a sugar lesson. Each food or drink had a baggie beside it showing the amount of sugar it contained. I use similar props in my nutrition education lessons. Visual aides really work. The students' eyes opened wide as they each looked at the amount of sugar in Red Bull, some yogurts, lemonade, iced tea and other popular foods. 

Finally, after a busy morning, the students took their seats in the adjoining classroom for my talk about becoming an RDN-chef and about The Academy of Nutrition and The Food and Culinary Dietetic Practice Group that I am a member of. I concluded with a brief discussion about food groups, portions and MyPlate. 
Afterwards, Dean McClay gave me a terrific tour of their greenhouse. Potted citrus trees greeted us at the entrance. One had thorns bigger than I've ever seen! Their Aloe, tomatoes, oregano and nasturtiums were thriving and blooming. I didn't notice any thyme or Bay leaf trees, which would be useful culinary plants to have.
The greenhouse wasn't available for the culinary school back when I attended. What a great addition and resource it must be for the Chefs and students.
ACA also grows chives, pineapple, parsley, Swiss chard, radish, lemongrass, figs, citrus, micro greens and other herbs and veggies. Walking into the greenhouse for fresh food is every cooks dream; every restaurant should have access to one.
And, I never knew Dean McClay had a green thumb! She knew all about what's growing in the greenhouse. She even installed a hydroponic growing area. She showed me a worm bin. And, she shared several fresh radishes for me to take home too. So Awesome - Thanks!

On our way back from the greenhouse we bumped into Chef Latorre, a culinary school friend, who now works at the Academy. Lucky students - she worked as a pastry chef at The Borgata. It was great to see our first place ribbon and team photo hanging in the hallway. I snapped a quick pic and posted it on Instagram. Great Memories!

I enjoyed seeing old friends and Chef Instructors at ACA. Thanks to everyone for your warm hospitality. Harry and I look forward to visiting the ACA's Caremes restaurant someday soon.

Happy and Healthy Holidays!

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