Did you know The Patachou Foundation has a dedicated cook? Her name is Maddie and she makes every after-school meal from scratch in the Patachou Inc. Prep Kitchen. We had a chance to chat with Maddie about what she loves most about making tasty, nutritious dishes for the kids we serve.
How long have you been cooking?
I’ve been cooking since I was a kid and I started buying cookbooks and making recipes for my family around age ten. I’ve been working with food professionally for about eight years.
How did you come to work for TPF?
I started out working for Public Greens a couple years ago and I loved it, not only because of the food but the people and the mission of the restaurant. I want to use food to help people.
What’s your favorite dish to cook (ever):
Grilled cheese on sourdough with dijon, gouda, havarti, sliced honeycrisp apple, bacon.
What’s your favorite thing to cook for the kids?
Braised pork tacos with homemade salsa, esquites (Mexican corn salad), and oranges.
How do you deal with their feedback?
Kids are very honest, and that’s actually a huge benefit when I’m trying to tweak a recipe. I get reports back after each meal service with valuable feedback by the kids themselves as told to our volunteers. But I also know it’s hard to please everyone, so I try to take something familiar to their taste buds and put a new twist on it. That way we can slowly introduce them to new and healthier foods.
What is it like to visit a school during meal time?
It’s high energy for sure. A lot of the time the kids want to help set up and they’re excited to learn about where the food came from and how it was made (and will often be more willing to try a new food as a result.) They are also very happy to meet the person who makes the food and I love to get their feedback and ask them about their favorite foods in person.
What about TPF’s mission really resonates with you?
I really believe that we are helping set these kids up for successful futures, not only by feeding them healthy food but also by teaching them healthy habits they can practice in their daily lives. I was privileged growing up to have access to fruits and vegetables but the reality is that so many kids don’t have that luxury. I feel that addressing hunger is one of the most profound and useful ways to help these kids.
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
I’m excited to learn more about school food and perfect old recipes while creating new ones. I’m also looking forward to visiting more schools and talking to more kids.