For the past six years NMS has hosted NMS Chef Day in our K-12 program either in person or virtual with an NMS pre-recorded video. This special lunch event provides an opportunity for our staff to step out of the kitchen and teach students about nutrition, food preparation, kitchen safety, and careers in the culinary industry. This year the support team who attended the events were Scott Evers, UAA Executive Chef Mark Maccherola and Kari Sellars from FFM marketing. This team was on hand to support the event and field questions from students about the meal. For high school students, we discussed careers in food service and educational opportunities.
NMS Chef Day was celebrated on Monday, May 1, in Kotzebue serving students from kindergarten through 11th grade. The Northwest Arctic Borough School District nutrition team is led by General Manager Linda McDermott and Kitchen Manager Bianca Ramos who prepped all weekend in order for us to pull off this fun event.
On the menu was a Macaroni and Cheese Bar. This fully customizable meal allowed students to “build their own bowl”, with roasted broccoli, a side of reindeer sausage, bacon bits, green onions, crushed BBQ chips and jalapeno relish – whatever they fancied.
Aside from a great lunch, a fun NMS Chef Day experience is a chance to try a unique fruit and this year it was papaya. The fruit was on display and sliced in half so they could see the seeds and were provided an info sheet about this tropical delight. After lunch, a first-grade class returned for a special presentation from Chef Mark, who told them about the fruit’s health benefits and geographical origins.
Students left lunch with recipe cards that include safety information and high schoolers, interested in working in foodservice, took flyers on culinary education opportunities in Alaska and Lower 48.
In the end, NMS Chef Day was served to 417 students, 173 guests received seconds, and 15 adults joined us for lunch.
On Wednesday, May 3, the NMS team, this time joined by Area Manager Greg Whiteside, hosted NMS Chef Day in Bethel, Alaska. The on-site team, General Manager Stephanie Schindler, and Assistant General Manager Allen Harrington had prepped for the event and were ready to share this fun dining experience with their students. Lunch was served at both Ayaprun Elitnaurivik and Bethel Regional High School.
The Macaroni and Cheese Bar in Bethel came with roasted broccoli, chopped ham, bacon, green onions and reindeer sausage. This time the unique fruit offered was freshly chopped pineapple – a massive hit with the students.
NMS served fun lunch to 137 students and three adults at Ayaprun Elitnaurivik and 181 students at Bethel Regional High School. To hear directly from the Anyaprun student’s thoughts on NMS Chef Day, check out the story produced by KYUK, the local radio station.
We were so grateful to have students from the culinary class at Ayaprun who helped us serve at the macaroni bar. This team was professional, patient and friendly when interacting with their fellow students. Participants will be presented with a certificate of thanks at the next board meeting.