Types of Chef Demos

The smells, sounds, and visual appeal of cooking can make your cafeteria come alive. Chef demos offer an interactive experience that is appropriate for all age groups, but especially useful for engaging secondary students.

Similar to Tastings, chef demos give students the opportunity to try new foods with the added advantage of watching the cooking process. Since kids sometimes perceive school lunch as not fresh, tasteless, or lack luster, a demo can help change their perceptions and provide students with a positive view of what it takes to make a school lunch.

Types of Chef Demos

Menu Item Demo

Participation is clearly important to school lunch programs, and convincing kids to try school lunch does require some encouragement. Offering live cooking demos of your existing menu items will attract interest and may generate the participation results your program needs. Here are ways to engage students in the demo:

  • Plan a menu item demo the day before the item is being served so you can encourage the kids to buy school lunch the next day.
  • Bump up your orders for the next day to ensure you have enough food to serve existing and new school lunch participants.

Local Produce Demo

Transforming fresh, local produce into a tasty recipe before kids’ eyes is always a win-win. This creates an opportunity to educate students on seasonality and the importance of purchasing local foods. Here are ways to engage students in the demo:

  • Engage their senses when cooking. Ask students to touch, taste, smell, and visually describe the item whole vs. sliced fresh vs. cooked. What differences do they see?
  • Coordinate the demo in conjunction with a Harvest of the Month program (see Art Contests for description).
  • Invite a local chef to perform the demo. You can also invite the local farmer who grew the ingredient(s) to be there. Make sure that the guest chef highlights the importance of community, buying locally, and cooking from scratch. If you have a farmer accompany your guest chef, he/she can talk about the importance of sustainable farming.

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