Take a Bite of BC Grows
Take a Bite of BC is expanding! For the 2021-2022 school year, the BCAITC program will deliver BC grown foods to an amazing 59 secondary schools throughout the province! This will impact 7,149 Culinary Arts students directly and influence an additional 65,000 students to eat healthy dishes in their school cafés.
Public and First Nations schools in a range of BC regions are participating in Take a Bite of BC! This includes urban schools like David Thomson Secondary and John Oliver Secondary in Vancouver, suburban schools like Gleneagle Secondary in Coquitlam, and rural schools such as Gulf Island Secondary on Salt Spring Island. New schools joining the program this year include Gudangaay Tlaats'gaa Naay Secondary in Masset, Johnston Heights Secondary in Surrey, and Fleetwood Park Secondary in Surrey.
Through Take a Bite of BC, BCAITC, BC Culinary Arts Specialists Association, BC agricultural commodity groups, and BC producers deliver fresh, BC grown product five times a year to secondary schools running a Culinary Arts program. These deliveries include a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, protein foods, dairy products, and oils. Students get comfortable working with a range of healthy and nutritious ingredients. They can cook with traditional foods and try some foods that may be new to them like duck, oysters, Anjou pears, Brussel sprouts, eggplant, and beyond.
All the Take a Bite of BC foods are generously donated by dozens of local agricultural commodity groups and producers. This year, Take a Bite of BC has a new partner - the BC Grain Producers Association will be providing canola oil to participating teaching kitchens!
Food for Thought
BCAITC works closely with Take a Bite of BC school Chef Instructors to provide them with resources to educate Culinary Arts students on BC’s amazing food story. The program provides a wide range of free educational materials.
Multi-faceted online toolkits (with educational videos, recipes, lessons, and other activities) to help students learn about BC products. New Spotlight Series toolkits this year will feature blueberries, broiler chickens, honey, and hazelnuts – to compliment the egg, pork, duck, cranberry, and apple toolkits launched in 2020-2021 (stay tuned for Spotlight Series updates here).
BCAITC provides resources to illuminate students about exciting career opportunities in a number of disciplines. Tools such as BCAITC’s Career Profiles and AITC-C’s new thinkAG program provide information on careers and post-secondary education. These may inspire students to consider future careers as Chefs, Food Truck Owners, Bakers, Food Stylists, Urban Farmers, Restaurant Managers, Chef Instructors, Nutritionists, and dozens of other rewarding careers in the agriculture and food sector.
Take a Bite of BC classrooms can try a hundreds of BCAITC recipes that have been developed by Chef Trevor Randle and other Take a Bite of BC Chef Instructors. These recipes, available for download from www.bcaitc.ca, illustrate a wide range cooking techniques, methods, and styles. From BC Butter Chicken with Raita to BC Inspired Thai Vegan Curry to BC Ancho-Lime Beef Fajitas with White Cheddar Queso, to BC Croque-Monsieur with Local Green Salad and French Vinaigrette, students can explore a variety of traditional and cultural dishes.
New this year, BCAITC now provides free virtual cooking lessons with BCAITC’s Chef Randle. Take a Bite of BC Students and Chef Instructors (as well as the general public) are invited to take part in these fun and interactive sessions to learn about BC foods, recipes, and cooking techniques. Plus, farmers also join Chef Randle to provide participants with up-close-and-personal insights on BC farming.
Good Food, Great Opportunities
Students in Take a Bite of BC Culinary arts school programs have the amazing opportunity to learn - hands-on - about agriculture and food! Take a Bite of BC impacts thousands of students' education around agriculture and food:
- Building awareness of the variety of BC product.
- Enabling students to gain an appreciation of the value of farms, farmland, farmers, the economy and the environment.
- Supporting the BC Ministry of Education’s directive of providing healthy food.
- Providing information on future careers in food and agriculture.
- Providing fresh and new products for learning experiences.
- Providing student/farmer learning opportunities.
- Providing an in-school “buzz” around BC agriculture.
- Promoting healthy food choices in the kitchen to Culinary Arts students, who are our future chefs and farm-to-table ambassadors.
- Providing students with fresh, healthy food to eat.
- Giving students the opportunity to experience a wide variety of foods, recipes, and traditions that make up BC’s diverse cultural landscape.
Teachers tell us they love the program:
“To whoever dreamed up this program, THANK YOU! My experience with this program has been exciting and wonderful and has spurred creative cooking juices, both teacher and student! What a blessing to participate in this program. Thank you so much.” - Chef Holly Knox, John Barsby Community School, Nanaimo
"Your program has not only nourished the students' minds and the student and staffs' bodies but has simultaneously inspired the reason we do what we do with passion in the teaching kitchens. There can be no denying without you and everyone involved we would only be a shadow of what we are because of all the partners involved. - We are collectively grateful - Thank you for everything.” - Chef Gerald Worobetz, South Delta Secondary
Cultivating Culinary Arts
Take a Bite of BC has grown from 14 schools in 2009 to 59 schools in 2021-2022. This is thanks to the amazing support of our partners and participants:
- Chef Instructors who nurture the Take a Bite of BC program by sharing their passion for food, agriculture, and education.
- Students who are excited to learn and participate in the Take a Bite of BC program, forming a community of enthusiastic young chefs.
- BC Culinary Arts Specialist Association that cultivates that program through communication and education.
- BC agricultural commodity groups and producers that provide the fresh, locally grown food for the program including: BC Blueberry Council | BC Broiler Hatching Egg Commission | BC Cattlemen's Association | BC Chicken Marketing Board | BC Cranberry Marketing Commission | BC Dairy Association | BC Egg Marketing Board | BCfresh | BC Frozen Foods Ltd. | BC Grain Producers Association | BC Hot House Foods Inc. | BC Pork Producers Association | BC Processing Vegetable Industry Development Fund | BC Raspberry Industry Development Council | BC Salmon Farmers Association | BC Shellfish Growers Association | BC Strawberry Growers Association | BC Tree Fruits Cooperative | BC Turkey Farmers | Creekside Hothouse Ltd. | Fraser Valley Cole Crop Growers' Association | Fraser Valley Dairy Farmers | Fraser Valley Peas, Bush Beans, & Corn Growers' Association| Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry | Golden Valley Foods | Highline Mushrooms | Mainland Milk Producers Association | Metro Vancouver Agriculture Awareness Grant | Ocean Spray of Canada Silver Valley Farms | Sofina Foods | South Alder Farms | Van Eekelen Enterprises| VersaCold Logistics Services | Windset Farms
Here's what some of the partners have to say about the BCAITC program:
“Thank you for another opportunity. We are always willing to support” - Brent Ouwerkerk, Windset Farms
“Thanks for allowing us to participate, you can count on our support. We do feel proud to be a part of this program and look forward to next year” - Brian Faulkner, BC Fresh
“Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to support such a great program putting our product into the hands of the next generation!.” - Harvey Mitchler, Highline Mushrooms
BCAITC appreciates all of the program partners' assistance to continue to bring this program to schools year-after-year!