Teamwork is a key to success in many of the things we do in life. It certainly is important in cooking class. Seeing the benefits of working together is one of the best things our young chefs take away from eight weeks in the kitchen.
Our second class of the fall featured a recipe that was pretty easy to make — tuna melt sandwiches — but it provided great opportunities for teamwork from start to finish.
Two new chefs joined the class this week — Madeline Rookwood and Yandel Vazquez — but they quickly got up to speed with the help of their new teammates.
Dariel Cordero jumped right in to show Yandel the technique of chopping celery with the knife point down on the cutting board. Magavi Cortes helped Madeline get the hang of slicing basil in thin “julienne” strips as we had done in Week 1. And then Yandel turned around and helped Leah Cuatlatl Morales apply enough pressure to squeeze a fat lemon in the juicer.
When it came time to assemble the tuna, everyone shared the fun, taking turns laying the tuna and tomatoes on the English muffins, then topping them with cheese and a garnish of basil strips.
“They look gorgeous!” Madeline exclaimed. “They’re beautiful!” Yandel then used his height to carefully slide the tray of melts into the tall oven, while the rest of the class set the table.
Twelve minutes later, Dariel and Yandel brought the melts to the table, piping hot on a pair of platters. Our young chefs each served themselves one, and dug in.
“I didn’t think I was going to like them, but this is good,” Dariel announced after several bites.
“I ate all of mine!” Madeline added. Others in the class were not as enthusiastic. Leah didn’t like the texture of the tuna but said “I liked the smell of basil, and I loved the cheese.”
Yandel said the concoction was “way too lemony” for his taste.
Jamal Gill confessed “our family is not a tuna family.”
Still, everyone tried a new dish and got to form their own opinion. As Leah told Ms. Molino the next day, she “didn’t love the tuna melts but had so much fun anyway!” And they gained teamwork skills without even realizing it.