Get a “taste” of Tasting Week

Ana Caklovic and Jeanette Wong

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 Food celebration sweeps local schools in the Bay Area 

The Paly cafeteria has a variety of food, from healthy fruit to unhealthy chips. The point of Tasting Week is to introduce healthier options to schools in Palo Alto and teach students about what they are eating. Photo by Ana Caklovic.

The Palo Alto High School cafeteria has a variety of food, from healthy fruit to unhealthy chips. The purpose of Tasting Week is to introduce healthier options to schools in Palo Alto and teach students about what they are eating. Photo by Ana Caklovic.

Tasting Week, a food event led by professional chefs, offers students in the Palo Alto Unified School District a chance to participate in various food-related workshops.

Although the event is generally scheduled for Oct. 6-10, in reality, the celebration will extend into the next month, including a workshop held on Oct. 23 at Gunn High School, according to the Tasting Week website. Palo Alto High School students are welcome and are encouraged to participate at the event.

Chefs from popular Bay Area restaurants are running workshops so that students can learn more about food in a qualitative way, according to Tasting Week event organizers. Some of the PAUSD schools participating will be Escondido Elementary School and Barron Park Elementary School, according to the Tasting Week Calendar on the website.

On a press release on Monday, PAUSD Communications Coordinator Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley wrote that some of the chefs leading the workshops include chef Charlie Ayers from Calafia in Palo Alto, chef Marco Fossati from Four Seasons in Palo Alto and chef Nathan Beriau from Ritz Carlton in San Francisco.

The top chefs are visiting local schools to blossom students’ love for food, share new tastes and aromas, as well as teach students alternatives to unhealthy food options, according to Kappeler-Hurley.

“The idea to have Bay Area schools launch this celebration of food came from a group of Bay Area parents who believe that educating children about taste is the best way to get them to love food and, at the same time, to fight obesity,” Kappeler-Hurley wrote.

After its launch in Palo Alto four years ago, Tasting Week has now expanded to schools across the bay in cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley. The founder of the organization of the Bay Area Tasting Week organization is Rebecca Scholl-Barbier, a Palo Alto parent with four children in the PAUSD.

Some students see the benefits of the event and are eager to sample and learn about the different tastes.

“I’d want to go to a workshop,” Walter Hays Elementary fifth grader Hana Krieger said. “I think it [Tasting Week] is good because it gives students a chance to try things for free.”

Others understand the goal of Tasting Week, and see how it can educate people.

“A lot of people who don’t know how to cook would want to go to the event,” junior Isabelle Vincent said. “People who don’t really know what goes in their food can develop healthier eating habits [at the workshops]. It’s always good to know how to cook at least one thing. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go [to a workshop] but if I knew it was happening and I was free I’d go.”

For those who are interested in participating in this event, the Tasting Week schedule for schools in the PAUSD can be found on the official website.