When chef Bob Brassard gives a high school culinary student a tomato, he expects them to turn it into soup, salsa or sauce. The Shawnee Mission School District culinary program also teaches them how to turn cucumbers into refrigerator pickles, basil into pesto, kohlrabi into slaw, okra into succotash and peppers into tongue-tingling hot sauces.
In educating young students about the culinary realm, Chef Brassard focuses on hands-on learning. With Brassard as a teacher, his students have learned how to take something from the garden and turn it into tasty recipes. Brassard’s background experience in the Kansas City area is what he uses to help these chefs to expand more on their technique. His work at Crown Center, help with the American Restaurant, and hand in opening Milano’s all contribute to how he developed the skills to run his education program.
Brassard’s award-winning Broadmoor Bistro program is a national leader in seed-to-plate education, a movement that seeks to integrate the values of growing and eating healthy food into the K-12 curriculum. Powell Gardens seeks to reinforce such efforts by providing a place where students can learn where their food comes from through hands-on gardening experiences, including sowing seeds, harvesting, preparing and eating what they grow.
Key garden ingredients: Lettuce, tomato, green beans, radish, turnips, squash, kohlrabi, okra, basil, dill, parsley
Partners in education:
- Broadmoor Bistro students learn how to grow and harvest food on the school’s urban farm then prepare restaurant-quality meals in a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen. Students host monthly public dinners and sell canned and baked goods at the Overland Park Farmers Market.
Boys Grow is a work-study program for urban youth interested in exploring farming and agriculture by working on a 10-acre farm. The program includes mentorship in business, marketing and public speaking through the production of salsa, ketchup, mustard and tzatziki sauce sold at local grocery stores.