Mobile Teaching Kitchen in the Produce Aisle at PriceRite Camden

September 14, 2018

Our Mobile Teaching Kitchen brings hands-on cooking demonstrations to schools, farmers markets, community events, and now — grocery stores! For the past couple months, our chef educators have been bringing our cooking demos into the produce aisle at PriceRite in Camden, NJ. We spoke to Bob Baylor of Ravitz Family Markets to discuss our growing partnership.

How did this partnership come about?

Leadership at the Ravitz Family Markets, the Family Foundation, and Vetri Community Partnership had a meeting to discuss the many ways we can help bring fresh foods to areas that don’t always have the best access to them. After sharing their many experiences, the idea of bringing the Mobile Teaching Kitchen program to the PriceRite of Camden seemed like a great idea.

What is it like to have the cooking demonstrations at PriceRite?

To be able to share with our customers product knowledge that goes beyond simple display merchandising is quite an opportunity for all of us. Our customers enjoy learning about the fresh fruits and vegetables, but taking it a step further by actually demonstrating the food prep steps is another level that they really appreciate of.

What have you heard from customers about the demonstrations?

The customers really appreciate the Mobile Teaching Kitchen coming into their community. It is another way for the customer to learn more about preparing fresh and healthy foods. The demonstrations also give the customer a chance to taste a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that they might never have tasted before.

Have you tried any of the recipes from the cooking demonstrations?

OF COURSE! How could we turn away delicious and nutritious food like this?!

Visit us at an upcoming PriceRite event:

  • Wednesday, October 3 – 2-4 p.m.
  • Friday, October 5 – 2-4 p.m.
  • Friday, November 4 – 2-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 6 – 2-4 p.m.

Volunteer Spotlight: Marion, Vetri Cooking Lab

September 4, 2018

Marion Immerman began volunteering with our Vetri Cooking Lab program at McCall Elementary School last year. We asked her a few questions about her experience and what she’s looking forward to this upcoming semester. Thank you Marion for your support of Vetri Cooking Lab and the students that we serve!

Why do you volunteer with our Vetri Cooking Lab program?

Well, first of all, everyone should volunteer. And frankly, I chose Vetri because I like food.

What have you learned from Vetri Cooking Lab?

Besides a lot of great recipes? How — if I can subvert my organizational nature and let things flow more or less organically — almost always, in the time allotted, these kids complete and present a delicious meal. We oversee, but they are very capable.

What are you looking forward to this upcoming semester?

A whole bunch of eager new kids. Trying to learn the names that go along with the faces and personalities which, for me, are easier to track. For ten weeks, becoming a little family.


Interested in joining Vetri Community Partnership as a volunteer? We would love to have you! Visit vetricommunity.org/volunteer.

Mobile Teaching Kitchen Partners with Farm to City Farmers Markets

August 8, 2018

Farm to City and Vetri Community Partnership are teaming up at three farmers market locations in Philadelphia. You’ll find our Mobile Teaching Kitchen (#VetriOnWheels) at Dickinson Square Park and North Front Street markets on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Fridays, we’ll be at Gorgas Park from 3 to 7 p.m.

“Our farmers markets have the potential to connect the urban areas with the rural areas that surround the city,” said Jon Glyn, Farm to City’s Farmers Market Program Manager. “But there are a lot of obstacles to making these connections. Vetri’s [Mobile Teaching Kitchen] can help overcome some of these obstacles. Thanks to this program, weekly shoppers will learn more about the fresh food and seasonal produce available at the markets.”

His vision? That shoppers “will take this knowledge home with them along with their groceries and then use the knowledge and food to nourish their friends and families.”

View the Mobile Teaching Kitchen’s full schedule here. To learn more about Farm to City’s farmers markets across the city, visit their website.

Volunteers Needed – Fall 2018

Vetri Community Partnership values the dedicated volunteers that continue to provide support, passion, and excitement within our core programs. As the school year approaches, we have a high need for volunteers specifically within our Vetri Cooking Lab and Mobile Teaching Kitchen programs.

Interested? Click here to create a volunteer profile. All new volunteers are required to create a volunteer profile and attend a volunteer orientation at our offices located at 211 N. 13th Street – Suite 303, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Orientations are held at varying dates and times to accommodate most schedules.

Upcoming Orientations:

  • Wednesday, August 15th, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Monday, August 20th, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, September 6th, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • Monday, September 10th, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, September 13th, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Can’t find an orientation time that works for you? Set up a phone call with our Community Engagement Coordinator, Ridhdhi Parmar by emailing her at ridhdhi@vetricommunity.org.

2017-2018 End of School Year Impact Report

June 26, 2018

Since 2008, Vetri Community Partnership has helped schools, organizations & communities bring healthy school lunch and nutrition education programs to their students and families.

During the 2017-2018 school year, we were proud to partner with more sites and engage with more children and adults than ever before.

Vetri Community Partnership

Vetri Cooking Lab: A Perfect Ending

May 21, 2018

Every semester of Vetri Cooking Lab ends with a special family-style meal. Students are allowed to invite a guest to the meal, most often a parent or caregiver. The final lesson — that food is something that brings people together — is a great way for students to recap the semester and share their new skills with their friends and family.

This semester, our students made chicken fajitas with rice & beans, pico de gallo, and chocolate-dipped fruit. Students are always so proud to serve the meal they prepared and their guests are always impressed by the results.

As they enjoy the meal, many students reflect on what they’ve learned. Here’s some of what students were saying this semester:

  • “I will definitely be cooking this summer!” – Shane
  • “My favorite thing about cooking class was when I learned new things.” – Julia
  • “A few things that I like about cooking class is you meet new people, you get to make great food, you get to help people.” – Alexis
  • “I like Vetri Cooking Lab because you get to cook things that you never cooked before. There is also a lot of people there to help you. The food is very delicious and most people agree with that.” – Israel
  • “Dish washing was my favorite, and I was good at it!” – Michael
  • “I learned to cook dinner for my family.” – Kiera

Thank Your to Our Volunteers – National Volunteer Appreciation Week 2018

April 13, 2018

Vetri Community Partnership has over 150 active volunteers working across its programs. Our organization attracts a wide range of volunteers, each with interesting and varied backgrounds — educators, nutritionists, students, chefs, or simply food enthusiasts!

This National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 15-21), we wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of our volunteers and learn more about why they volunteer with VCP!

Special thanks to all of VCP’s dedicated volunteers. There would be no mission without your generous support.

Danielle Gartner

Volunteer with Vetri Cooking Lab at Dunbar Elementary

Danielle is a sophomore Public Health major at Temple University and is particularly interested in how diet can be used as a method of preventative healthcare.

What Danielle likes most about volunteering for Vetri Cooking Lab is that it gives her an opportunity to actually make a difference. As a student, she spends so much of her time learning about health problems, but is rarely given any information on simple things she can do to help mitigate these issues. Educating kids on the benefits of a well-rounded diet and helping them create nutritious meals is a great way to start changing how people view food and nutrition.

 

 

Joyce Dean

Volunteer with My Daughter’s Kitchen at Hunter Elementary

Joyce Dean is a new volunteer with our My Daughter’s Kitchen program! Joyce is a retired Nurse Anesthetist and brings a unique healthcare perspective to the kitchen. She has made a great impact in the kitchen by teaching students the importance of sterility and safety, especially while using knives.

So far, Joyce has been enjoying her volunteer experience and really loves working with such spectacular students, school staff, and fellow volunteers. When Joyce is not volunteering with Vetri Community Partnership, she enjoys traveling, making delicious dinners, and taking classes at Penn State.

 

Michael Miller

Volunteer with Vetri Cooking Lab at Antonia Pantoja Charter School and William D. Kelley School

Michael has a varied background, including working in restaurants — both in the kitchen and the front of house. He is currently pursuing a career in education and volunteering with Vetri Cooking Lab allows him to use his past experience with food, but gives him a taste for working with students in an academic setting. When he’s not volunteering with Vetri Community Partnership, Michael volunteers with other organizations, including Manna.

 

Jenn Braxton

Volunteer with Vetri Cooking Lab at Antonia Pantoja Charter School

Jenn is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in France and the pastry program at The Culinary Institute in NY. She recently went back to school at West Chester University to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and is applying for internships to meet the requirements for becoming a Registered Dietician.

In the meantime, she is taking advantage of a break in her schedule to volunteer with Vetri Cooking Lab at Pantoja. While she needs to get a ‘real job,’ she loves volunteering with VCL, as well as past experiences with a Vetri Community Partnership program at ESF camps and community visits with the Mobile Teaching Kitchen. Volunteering with Vetri Community Partnership fulfills what she feels is her personal mission — to help people learn to cook and eat healthy meals.

Jane Pupis

Volunteer with My Daughter’s Kitchen at William H. Loesche Elementary School

Jane Pupis has been volunteering with our My Daughter’s Kitchen program at William H. Loesche Elementary School for about 4 years! Jane is a retired teacher who came to learn about volunteering with Vetri Community Partnership through the weekly My Daughter Kitchen write-ups in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Jane loves diving into new recipes with students every week and learning how to integrate healthy foods into a diet, alongside the youth. She is impressed by the students’ large culinary vocabulary, and often hears them crediting this lingo to the fun cooking shows they watch at home. When Jane is not volunteering with Vetri Community Partnership, she loves reading with her book club, exercising, and socializing with friends.

 

Liz Platzker

Volunteer with Vetri Cooking Lab at McMichael Morton School

Liz has been a volunteer with Vetri Cooking Lab for two semesters (last semester she was at Dunbar Elementary).

Her background is in fashion. When she was twenty, she launched a girls clothing line called Change de Chanel that was inspired by the famous fashion label, Chanel, with a quirky twist. Later, she worked and designed for women’s fashion lines for INC, Ann Taylor Loft, Lord & Taylor, and Ascena Retail Group.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Liz enjoyed many fresh, healthy meals at home with her family. Her mother, an interior designer, even self-published a cookbook called “30 Days in the Life of a LA Wife.” Now a mother herself, Liz involves her 7-year-old daughter in all aspects of meal preparation – reading recipes, discussing nutrition labels, shopping at Reading Terminal Market, and cooking.

Liz says it is amazing to teach kids in Vetri Cooking Lab about nutrition and the art of cooking. She enjoys learning more about each student and hearing about the foods they appreciate and gravitate to. She has found the volunteer experience to be enriching – for both the teachers and students!

 

Jay Epstein

Volunteer with Vetri Cooking Lab at Russell Byers Charter School

Jay has been volunteering with our Vetri Cooking Lab program at Russell Byers Charter School for the past two semesters. Jay works within the Human Resources Management team at TD Bank. Jay came to learn about volunteer opportunities at Vetri Community Partnership through his work, as TD Bank is a largely community driven corporation.

Jay was already familiar with the Vetri brand, being an avid Philadelphia foodie. When volunteering, Jay enjoys that the recipes are appropriate for all age groups and even loves to test them out at home! When Jay isn’t volunteering, he enjoys teaching and playing Jazz piano, trying out new restaurants, and traveling.

Dinner in 30 with VCP COO Kelly Herrenkohl

April 11, 2018

Vetri Community Partnership chefs were tasked with creating a simple recipe for a home cook that utilized pantry staples, included all the food groups, used minimal pots & pans, and only took 30 mins of prep, cook and serve time.

A true unicorn of a recipe! But after some deliberation, they came up with this one-pan burrito bowl.

Kelly Herrenkohl, VCP’s fearless COO and mother of four, decided to put it to the test. Her rubric – is this something she would actually be able to get on the table for her kids after a busy day at work?

We took to the #VCPtestkitchen with a timer set to 0:30 and she was off!

The filling ingredients in the oven would take the longest, so she immediately started cubing, slicing, chopping. Everything went together in a bowl and she tossed it all with olive oil and taco seasoning. After spreading everything out on a sheet pan, she tossed it in the oven and turned her attention to the quinoa. Once the quinoa was slowly bubbling on the stove top, she quickly set up her toppings — grated cheese, chopped green onions, and tomatoes. And then, with nothing left to prep, Kelly had time to clean up.

In just over 30 minutes, the filling came out of the oven and the quinoa came off of the stove top. The self-assembly nature of the recipe meant that all she had to do was put out bowls and forks for her kids to help themselves.

It was a hit! We hope you enjoy this recipe with your family. It can easily be doubled or tripled to accommodate a crowd!

Mobile Teaching Kitchen: Visit from Massimo Bottura

As part of Vetri Cucina‘s 20th anniversary, VCP co-founder Marc Vetri has been inviting chefs from across the country and around the world to collaborate with him for special dinners. Once of those guests was renowned Chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, one of Italy’s most celebrated restaurants.

In addition to being the leading figure in modern Italian gastronomy, Bottura also founded Food for Soul to empower communities to fight against food waste in the interest of social inclusion and individual wellbeing.

Since he was unable to make it out to a Mobile Teaching Kitchen visit, we decided to bring the Mobile Teaching Kitchen to him! We were honored to share our mission and program with him, especially since his philanthropic work is so inspiring.

Photos by Steve Legato

Vetri Cooking Lab: Raisin Persuasion

March 23, 2018

In Week 2 of Vetri Cooking Lab at Adaire Alexander School, we made Apple Cinnamon Pancakes with Raisin Butter and talked a lot about measuring different types of ingredients and cooking tools. We also practiced reading the recipe and quizzed their comprehension with a short test.

The students did an excellent job grating apples, measuring dry ingredients, rehydrating raisins to be blended with an immersion blender into our raisin butter. They mixed together the pancake batter and cooked 30 cakes total on the griddle. A small group put their heads together to figure out what the serving size was if we divided the recipe yield by the number of kids in the class. (Answer: 2 pancakes per student)

There were a surprising number of raisin skeptics! When I asked the raisin butter team to taste a raisin before we set them to soak in the warm water, I felt like I was watching that show Fear Factor! One chewed it reluctantly with a disturbed expression, another held it in his fingers and poked it once with his tongue, another took the tiniest nibbled possible, and the other held it in front of his mouth, pretended to eat it, and spun around to put it in the trash can. I laughed and reminded the class of our pledge to keep an open mind and try everything!

At the end of class when we all came together to taste and discuss the recipes, my day was made when one student exclaimed, “Shockingly, I love the raisin butter!” This spirit of adventure and discovery is one of many reasons why I love teaching this class.

— Tara Mataraza-Desmond, Vetri Cooking Lab Instructor

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