Master Food Volunteers and Agents Enhance Food Demonstration Skills at Virginia State University

On April 10, 2018, Virginia Cooperative Extension sponsored a continuing education event for our Master Food Volunteers and Extension Agents at Virginia State University.  This event was designed to help us enhance our food demonstration skills as Extension professionals to spark interest in new foods and ways of eating with our program participants. This event was one of two continuation events held in April, and this blog will be the first of two blogs about them.

For this first event held at Virginia State University, Chef Christal Jett, from Johnson & Wales, was our featured chef.  She shared her best practices for making our food demonstrations more engaging. Chef Jett has more than 25 years experience as a chef, and she has previously owned and operated her own businesses.  We were delighted to have her with us!

Chef Jett started the event with a demonstration of how to make an easy and tasty recipe, Hoisin Ginger Rice Noodles.  She emphasized that demonstration recipes need to be simple, and they need to have maximum flavor and minimal ingredients.  Chef Jett also shared some tips for planning a demonstration, overcoming mishaps, and what do to if we are missing a specific ingredient.

Chef Jett demonstrates how to fix the recipe we will prepare later.

Our Agents and Master Food Volunteers watch Chef Jett’s demonstration.

After Chef Jett finished her demonstration, Ms. Katie Strong, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, showed us how easy it is to use available technology, such as cell phones or iPads with a tripod, a computer, a display monitor on the wall, and a projector, to help us easily view the techniques being demonstrated.

Katie Strong demonstrates the use of easily available technology to enhance visualization of the techniques being taught.

We practiced our demonstration skills in smaller groups while making the Hoison Ginger Vegetable Rice Noodle.  And yes, we got to eat it!

This is a sample of the Hoisin Vegetable Rice Noodles.

We practice Mise en place with the equipment and utensils we used for each group to practice their food demonstration skills.

We observed some great demonstrations in our groups!

Here is another sample of the Hoisin Ginger Vegetable Rice Noodle recipe.

The recipe tasted great, too!

At the end of the day, we recognized the great work our volunteers and agents are doing in our communities. This was also a great opportunity to share ideas for new programs.

Our Agents and Master Food Volunteers share program ideas.

It was a great day, and we wish to thank our Master Food Volunteers and Extension Agents who participated in this training.

We also wish to acknowledge Virginia Cooperative Extension for providing this opportunity for us; to Virginia State University (VSU) for their staff support, training location, and resources for this program; and to Ms. Michelle Olgers and Mr. Paul Meyer with the VSU Department of Marketing and Communications for coordinating and taking all of these great photos.

Many thanks to Dr. Carlin Rafie, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, and Ms. Katie Strong, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, for co-facilitating this workshop with me.

Also many thanks to Chef Jett for sharing her time and expertise with us. We all came away with valuable tips and techniques that we can use in our educational programs!

From left to right: Dr. Carlin Rafie, Chef Christal Jett, Ms. Katie Strong, and Dr. Melissa Chase.

Submitted by Dr. Melissa Chase, State Coordinator, Master Food Volunteer Program