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Professional Cooking and Managing Your Child Nutrition Program Newsletter

Volume 6, Issue 1

September 19, 2017

NYS Education Department & Madison-Oneida County BOCES


In this issue:


About the Programs

The NYS Education Department/Child Nutrition, offers  a pairing of two summer workshops, “Professional Cooking” and “Managing Your Child Nutrition Program”, formerly known as “Managing Professional Cooking”. These  four day workshops are offered to hundreds of school cooks and food service directors all over the State, that participate in the National School Lunch Program.

Four sessions for each of the two courses,  are held simultaneously during the month of July. Not only do the workshops provide a great learning experience, they provide 15 Professional Standards continuing education training hours, and the chance to network with other cooks and Food Service Directors throughout the State.  Online registrations begin in January. The link will be posted on the Child Nutrition Knowledge Center.

Did you know New York is the only state to offer hands-on quantitative cooking training?


Professional Cooking

In addition to instilling a sense of professionalism in the participant’s daily role in school food service, instruction taught by professional food service directors focuses on embedded skills such as basic knife skills, understanding and effectively preparing food using a standardized recipe, completing food production records, proper use and care of equipment, understanding and practicing food safety procedures, developing communication skills, and consciousness including Smarter Lunchrooms techniques.  


Managing Your Child Nutrition Program

The workshop covers management aspects of the Child Nutrition programs that give food service directors the tools they need to manage their financial resources and to operate effective and nutritionally sound programs. The master instructors are experts in their workshop topics, offering their best practices to the participants. We decided to provide this training as an extension of Professional Cooking to engage the Food Service Directors in supporting the cooks and cook managers.

The course topics include Financial Management, Menu Planning and Costing, Communications, and Procurement. In addition, new topics including Smarter Lunchrooms and a visit to a local farm were added to the course.  Smarter Lunchrooms is a movement that focuses on nudging students to voluntarily make healthier food choices which in turn decreases food waste, increases participation, and increases consumption of nutrient rich foods.   Participants also took a tour of North Star Orchard farm in Westmoreland, offering them the opportunity to learn more about Farm to School.


It's a Wrap

The 2017 Sessions included a new twist on the traditional Wednesday luncheon.  Traditionally, all attendees are treated to a Wednesday luncheon consisting of the food items prepared in each of the cooking labs.  This year the luncheon was turned into a working luncheon.  The Managing attendees and Professional Cooking attendees were provided with a recipe evaluation form.  All attendees were asked to sample as many foods items as they preferred to and utilize the form to evaluate each sampled food item.  During the Thursday, “It’s a Wrap” session, the recipe evaluations forms were discussed and the data was collected by NYSED.  This will help NYSED and Madison Oneida BOCES decide on which recipes to keep and which recipes may require adjustment.  In addition, managers and cooks can now utilize this recipe evaluation process at their own schools when working with their current standardized recipes or potential new recipes.

Tips from "It's a Wrap"

  • Offer two choices of fruits and vegetables
  • Descriptive name tags for food
  • Taste tests/Surveys
  • Descriptive menu names
  • Recess before lunch
  • Sharing tables
  • Cycle menus , perpetual inventory, food production records and Food Buying Guide



2017-2018 Professional Cooking Workshop

  • Recipes were wonderful and I hope we’re able to use them at school!
  • I am so glad I attended this program. Absolutely all areas were useful. All the instructors were energetic, interesting, knowledgeable, and approachable. Thank you!
  • Love the opportunity to meet new people in the same field, telling stories and comparing kitchens.
  • I learned a lot and recommend it to foodservice workers. I’m going to tell my manager about Sanitation training in the fall or spring. Thank you!
  • This course was excellent. I learned a lot and feel inspired to continue learning.

2017-2018 Managing Your Child Nutrition Program

  • Going home with great ideas, new friends, and great resources!
  • I enjoyed this course. The instructors were very knowledgeable and encouraged interaction. Thank you!
  • The course topic on how to do specifications was very interesting. I learned a lot since I am new.
  • This course is excellent for a new manager!
  • Very fun! The program was informative, inspirational and pleasant! The contacts I made will enhance our program as well. Thank you for the opportunity!
  • Exciting, educational and empowering! Loved it! Excellent speakers! Thank you!



If you have a photo you'd like to see on the website, please share it with us!

Knife Skills

Hot Foods

Sanitation with Karen Bronson-Clark

Weighing Flour

Mise en place

Cold Foods in the Classroom with Karl

Colorful Crunch Noodles

Reading the Recipe Before We Get Started

Dicing Tomatoes

Elizabeth Morgan

Geoff Gilman

Graduation Day


Green Team

Sesame Asian Noodle Chicken Salad

Happy Attendee

John Macdonald and the Advantages of Standardized Recipes

Knife Skills

Another Happy Customer

Reviewing Measurements

Michael Polcari

Managing Your Child Nutrition Program Week 1

Nancy Provanzano

More Knife Skills

Professional Cooking Week 1

Sara Kendrick

Cleaning the Bowl

Shepards Pie and Pasta Fagioli

Even More Knife Skills

Suzanne Wixom

Cold Foods with Karl

The Feast

More Knife Skills

And More Knife Skills


Wonderful Helpers

7.18.17 Farm Visit

7.18.17 Farm Visit

7.18.17 Farm Visit

7.18.17 Farm Visit

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.