[slideshow] RootDown LA hosted Jennie Cook as she pulled off a third annual Mystery Lunch Box Cook-off at Jefferson High last month, assisted by a top team of volunteer chefs. Thanks to ALL who showed up to participate - students, staff, visitors and judges!
Volunteers were Phillip Gaiser, a research and development chef from Whole Foods, Rosemary Ochiogrosso, a midwife with a flair for cooking up community events and holiday biscotti, and Roy Choi of Kogi truck fame, along with his star marketing staff, Alice Shin and Natasha Phan. We were honored they took time away from their LA food empire to join in on the culinary spree. About thirty students, many of whom had NEVER cooked before, showed up for three weeks to learn what how to cook veggies. On the third week, each team of budding chefs was presented with a mystery veggie, which they had to incorporate into some dish to be judged by their peers and Jefferson staff.
When all was said and done, each team won SOME prize for flavors and presentation. The kids were proud of their dishes and excited about their new skills. The guest chefs too, must have enjoyed themselves. Phillip took time on his birthday to be with us and Natasha later wrote: "Roy wanted to let you know that there is nothing more important to him than the youth of our city. Thank you for what you do and maybe one day he can help even more to flip the script on food and life in the inner city. He bows down to RootDown and is always at your disposal....Alice and I had such an amazing time. We each went into a "zone" when cooking with the students, would love to help in future projects! Wish there was Mystery Lunch Box every quarter!!
AWWW! RootDown agrees! Who wants to donate funds for the next Mystery Lunch Box cook-off?