The Santa Clarita Valley (CA) School Food Services Agency is bringing its customers into the back of the house and putting them to work. No, it's not some sort of out-of-the-box labor solution; rather, it is a program meant to familiarize children with basic cooking techniques and to encourage them to share more meals with their families in the traditional way, which studies have shown is a significant factor in encouraging better eating habits as well as relationships.
The program — the annual Kids Cooking Campaign — has students from different district schools successively come into the Agency's central kitchen and, with the help of the production staff, spending the morning planning and preparing a meal that will be served to a group of invited guests, including their families.
The program began in 1994 as a partnership between the California Dept. of Education's Child Nutrition & Food Distribution Division, the Dairy Council of California and the American Institute of Wine & Food.