Sunday, June 07, 2020

When it came to creating the curriculum for TABC’s new Culinary Arts Program, Cary Reichardt, veteran teacher and chair of the history department, knew wanted to expose the students to the cuisine of Jewish communities around the world. For thousands of years, Jews have adopted foods from the many lands in which they lived and food has always, to an extent, defined Jewish culture. Therefore, along with the practical part of the course, students will study many Jewish communities and their histories, as well as halachic issues with regard to kashrut and food preparation, with class visits by TABC rebbeim. Reichardt’s course is rooted in Project Based Learning, as students will develop time management skills in food preparation, learn to work cooperatively with others and hone decision making and problem-solving skills. In addition to the regular cooking assignments and classwork, students will submit a research paper on a country and its food customs, write an autobiographical story about the significance of certain foods in their families and prepare a family recipe for the class.

In anticipation of Rosh Hashanah, the students spent one week learning the origins and significance of the simanim, and prepared keftes de prasa, leek fritters, a dish originating from the Jewish communities of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, which was believed to ward off the ayin hara. They also covered basic knife skills and participated in a workshop with their first visiting chef, Victoria Mione, aka Chef Victoria, an experienced chef and caterer.

In her workshop, students prepared a sephardic recipe in honor of Rosh Hashanah, which the students officially named Honey Bear Chicken, and a side dish of healthy mashed potatoes. It was difficult to decide what the students enjoyed more, the preparation of the food or the tastings which followed. The class plans on sharing all their recipes in the inaugural TABC Cookbook, to be released in May 2020.

Taking on new challenges as an educator and creating new curricula is second nature to Reichardt. In addition to creating the curriculum for the History department, she has also initiated and created the Holocaust Studies program, initiated and created the Introductory Economics and Financial Literacy curriculum and, most recently, conceived of and created the Bare Witness Holocaust project, together with her colleague, Rebecca Lopkin, director of performing arts in TABC. TABC is proud of the innovation of its faculty members in finding new and creative ways to provide a rich educational experience to its students.

Stocking the kitchen with all the spices, condiments, and staple ingredients for the class’s recipes would not be possible without the generosity of food sponsors, Grand and Essex and Cedar Market. Todah rabbah to TABC parent, Mali Baer, director of marketing and customer care at Grand and Essex, and TABC alumnus, David Bodner, director of operations at Cedar Market.