Bill Yosses, former White House Pastry Chef, visits Young Chefs

It’s not everyday you have guests over from the White House. Last weekend, however, Young Chefs was lucky enough to have Bill Yosses, former white house pastry chef, come visit us in Northfield, MN. In addition to meeting all the Young Chefs staff and volunteers as well as hosting two large campus events attracting more than 400 people, Bill taught a class at the local middle school for our Young Chefs kids. During the one-hour class, he made a deliciously quick chocolate mousse, talked about polymers and foams, and also shared some of his stories from working under Mr and Mrs Obama. Our Young Chefs have been talking about it ever since!bild 2

Bill teaching a baking class for over 150 college students and faculty, many of whom are involved in Young Chefs. KIMG0293

Visit at the local JustFoods coop, a crucial Young Chefs partner and one of the main sponsors of the visit.

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Hanging out with the Young Chefs in Northfield, MN!

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Fun, informative and engaging: thanks, Bill!

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A fun lunch meeting involving the Young Chefs volunteers, students, and staff.

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Young Chefs Returns for Winter 2015: Pizza

On the year-end review in 2014, we asked the students what they wished they could cook. You might be surprised to learn that Brussels sprouts weren’t high on the list. Instead, the answer that was repeated over and over was pizza. And who could blame them? A life filled with pizza is surely a more fulfilled life. What can beat the combination of crispy crust, melted cheese, tomato sauce and infinite toppings? So last Thursday, our first lesson of winter term, we decided to make Brussels sprouts…just kidding.

To start things off, we had the kids take the dough (we had premade it) and roll it out to create the base for their personal pizzas. Some of the students, following the lead of the volunteers, tested their culinary techniques by tossing the dough as close as they could to the ceiling—results varied.

Once the dough was ready, the young chefs were able to pick out an assortment of toppings to build their masterpieces. There were olives, cherry tomatoes, jalapeños (a big hit), onions, peppers, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and other delicious vegetables. The kids were adventurous in their choices and the pizzas looked vibrant and colorful heading into the oven.

While the pizzas cooked, the kids had the chance to make their own dough to take home. They learned about yeast—that it’s alive!—and the importance of the little microorganisms to get the dough to rise properly. In addition, they learned about gluten and how kneading makes the dough stretchy on a molecular level. It was wonderful to hear all the students recall what they had learned about gluten and microbes in our steamed buns and salsa lesson plans. After the dough was made and hands were washed, the pizzas came out of the oven to eager students and volunteers.

The kids traded slices with their friends, getting to try some with black olives or basil or peppers. And the best part, the kids brought some dough home with them so they could do it all over again!

Written by Sam Bearak, Carleton College ’17

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Young Chefs at the New York Times Travel Show!

This past weekend, Young Chefs co-founder Vayu Maini Rekdal left frigid Minnesota for tropical NYC to present his work with Young Chefs at the New York Times travel show. Invited by Bill Yosses, former White House Pastry Chef, Vayu had the opportunity to collaborate with NASA scientist Steve Howell and present fun, edible experiments to people of all ages.

He talked about emulsions, foams, spheres, and polymers, and met a range of inspiring educators who are working to engage youth with their food. The Green Bronx Machine, SuperChefs of the Universe, Spoons Across America, and ChopChop magazine were just a few of the organizations represented. The Travel Show was the ideal catalyst for bringing us all together to share with and learn from each other. The Young Chefs Program looks forward to collaborating with these people in the near and distant future — stay tuned for details!

Even though the weekend was full of amazing moments, there is one that stands out in particular. In preparation for their presentation, Vayu and NASA scientist Steve Howell decided to impromptu experiment to alter a foaming demo they have previously used with kids. As they say, great minds think alike: after just a few minutes of conversation and hypothesis-making, the inedible foaming demo had turned into a 3-second sponge cake, which, by the way, was absolutely delicious. Stay tuned for more details.

And thanks to Bill Yosses for inviting Vayu to an incredible weekend!

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NYtimes food critic Doug Duda, Formed White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, and Vayu Maini Rekdal, all talking before Vayu’s presentation on emulsions and salad at the main stage.

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Vayu explaining how spheres work at the KIDS KITCHEN section of the event.

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The exploding milkshake. Enough said.