On Tuesday, March 1, the first class in the new teaching kitchen at the Food Bank was held. 12 students from the Mountain Education Charter High School (MECHS) in Rabun participated in a two-hour fundamental cooking class. MECHS is an evening high school that serves students who are seeking a non-traditional school environment and who desire a Georgia high school diploma. MECHS serves Elbert, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union, and White County School Systems. The students were introduced to the Food Bank’s programming and learned that the majority of the foods they would be cooking with were sourced from the Food Bank. The students then learned about myPlate and basic nutrition, recipe development, basic knife skills and sanitation in the kitchen. The students picked up the shiny, brand new equipment and began chopping, dicing and shredding all the ingredients necessary to make guacamole and vegetable quesadillas. A lot of laughter, chatter and the sounds and smells of cooking warmed the new kitchen. As the vegetables were being cooked, Katie Hendricks, the Child Nutrition Coordinator at the Food Bank, talked with the students about the importance of healthy eating, especially in a culture that depends on sugar and processed foods. When the quesadillas were done cooking, the group sat down and enjoyed a meal together. This was the first of many, many meals that will be eaten together in the teaching kitchen featuring whole, healthy and affordable foods!