Mise en Place

“Put in Place”- a French culinary phrase which means “everything in its place”.   Camp Kitchen Sage took its aprons and knives on the road this summer to partner with the Ionia Intermediate School District and Michigan Rehabilitation Services to offer a summer camp focused on developing work-based skills.   And while it took a lot of effort to get everything in place, thirteen young adults gained confidence, culinary skills, and improved their prospects for long-term employment. In fact at the closing celebration, five of the participants announced that they were hired by their worksites and two others were asked to fill out applications.   

It was quite an experience watching these young adults work four different food stations to serve their families and guests at the closing celebration.  One of the primary goals of this summer’s camp was to train the participants in how to be short-order cooks, especially focused on breakfast. An omelet station, crepe station, and waffle/pancake station were all featured that evening.  The last station was literally making and cooking home-made pasta along with different sauces prepared by the students. It was a culinary feast!

The comments of Chef Chad summarized Camp Kitchen Sage well.  He shared how the students learned “mise en place” in order to allow for efficiency in the kitchen.  He also talked about how important one’s voice is in the kitchen to keep things safe- “sharp knife”, “behind” “coming through”, etc.  He then explained how these skills, which are extremely important in the kitchen, are necessary in life itself- keeping organized to maximize the benefits that life offers, and owning one’s voice.  These students owned the moment at that closing celebration and have clearly demonstrated that their voices will be known in the surrounding communities of Ionia and Portland.

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