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Cook’s Corner: Umbrella Lincoln Alexander

little boy eating kabab lunch
April 20th, 2022Cook's Corner

In Umbrella child care programs, our cooks are responsible for menu planning, purchasing groceries and supplies, and daily preparation of nutritious meals and snacks for the children who are enrolled in our infant, toddler, and preschool programs. They are valuable and important team members and work diligently every day to make sure the children are offered healthy options. Cook’s Corner is a blog series that will share more information about our cooks and how food is prepared and served in our programs. Enjoy!

 

We visited Umbrella Lincoln Alexander and spoke with their cook, Danielle Johnstone, to find out more about her process and to learn a new recipe. Families were asked to send in recipes from their cultures so that Danielle could introduce them to the children in their full day programs. One family kindly shared a traditional Afghan Chapli Kabab recipe and Danielle prepared it for lunch. See how it went in the video above!

We asked Danielle about the importance of diversity in her Umbrella kitchen…

Why do you value cultural diversity in the menu at Umbrella?

I feel that introducing various cultural dishes to the children at a young age is very beneficial. It helps them learn and explore different textures, spices and flavours. Preparing recipes that have been shared by a child’s family allows them to share their culture, helping them to grow a deeper appreciation for their own culture, as well as their peers. I feel that introducing various cultural dishes to the children at a young age is very beneficial. It helps them learn and explore different textures, spices and flavours. Preparing recipes that have been shared by a child’s family allows them to share their culture, helping them to grow a deeper appreciation for their own culture, as well as their peers. I feel that introducing various cultural dishes to the children at a young age is very beneficial. It helps them learn and explore different textures, spices and flavours. Preparing recipes that have been shared by a child’s family allows them to share their culture, helping them to grow a deeper appreciation for their own culture, as well as their peers.

 

When offering new dishes, sometimes children may be picky, or they might have certain dietary needs. How do you manage to modify dishes so that every child is accommodated?

When I am introducing new food to the children, I do it with enthusiasm, a little description, and a relatable comparison to a food they are already familiar with. This encourages them to enjoy any food that is new to them. When dietary alterations are required, I educate myself on healthy alternatives and how to prepare them so that all the children can be happy with the food I serve them.

little girl inspecting afghan kabab

Having a diverse menu is about more than just food. How do you think being introduced to new foods, and having their culture represented in our menu, impacts the children?

In my opinion, with everything going on in the world today, our program of teaching the children about different cultures, history, and foods from different nationalities can only benefit their developing minds. The educators have been exploring the world map with the children to learn about and appreciate one another’s backgrounds and cultures. We also encourage parents to send in their own traditional recipes through Storypark, so that their children can enjoy them with their friends at Umbrella. I feel that introducing various cultural dishes to the children at a young age is very beneficial. It helps them learn and explore different textures, spices and flavours. Preparing recipes that have been shared by a child’s family allows them to share their culture, helping them to grow a deeper appreciation for their own culture, as well as their peers.

 

How have different cultural foods influenced you as a cook?

I have been responsible for serving a diverse array of individuals. I have learned how to use various spices and flavourings to alter any meal in ways that accommodate each person who will be enjoying it. I enjoy the learning curve presented when I’m introduced to new recipes from cultures all around the worldIt’s extremely gratifying to see the people I serve enjoying food and having the pleasure of eating something familiar to them or being introduced to something entirely new. I find joy in constantly exploring new and diverse recipes, not only at work but also in my home

Download/Print Recipe


We look forward to seeing our cooks serve more recipes sent in from families. Is your child in a full day Umbrella program? Email your location’s supervisor with a recipe from your family’s heritage so that we might be able to serve it to your child and their friends.


Request care | Become a cook at Umbrella Family | Share one of your family recipes with us! Email info@umbrellafamily.com

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Cathy Wever
Head Office
Viola Desmond

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