PAWHUSKA, Okla. — An in-person chef is not a normal sight at the Pawhuska elementary school. Neither is the authentic Asian food the students learned how to cook.
“If you can get them excited and let them know it’s okay to venture out and see how different cultures eat different meals, it helps as they grow up to try different items,” said Joshua Lankford, the southern regional chef for Taher.
Taher is the company Pawhuska schools use for their cafeteria meals. Lankford says that every year, the chefs go on a trip to a different country and learn about a new style of food and culture. This year he went to Thailand and the Philippines.
“In a lot of these different Asian cultures, life is surrounded by food there are a lot of moments and memories created by food,” said Lankford.
The new recipes will soon be rotated through the cafeterias. But Lankford wants the kids to learn about the dishes as well, so he spent Wednesday demonstrating how to make different Asian dishes and teaching the kids about Asian culture.
“We want to be more than just putting food on a plate, we want to get the kids excited about the food,” said Lankford.
Lankford also used the opportunity to teach the kids a bit about healthy eating.
“Everything that I created and let the kids try today, nothing was fried,” said Lankford.
The healthy food was a big hit with one student.
“I don’t usually like cucumbers, but he cooked some cucumber thing and it was amazing and the chicken, best chicken I’ve ever had,” said Will Cass, an eighth grader attending the lesson at Pawhuska Elementary school.
Will Cass says he hopes the chef will come back again next year.
“I usually leave for lunch to eat somewhere, but tomorrow he said he’s gonna be here, so I’m coming here and I’m gonna be first, I don’t wanna wait in line” said Cass.