There’s a lot going on with Camp Moving Education in Apalachicola and Friday night’s lavish banquet at the Holy Family Senior Center was the most delicious.
About 20 young chefs-in-waiting, who had spent all week learning under chef Brett Gormley, served up; a five-course meal, all made with their own loving hands with as many locally-sourced foods as could be gathered.
On each table was a centerpiece created by adult volunteers, who provided their own plates and bowls for the tables. Karen Kessel and Jan “Cricket” Carpenter did ones on mermaids and a zen garden; Myrtis Wynn assembled a veterans theme; grapes were the theme of the table by Kate Clarke and Jeff Points; H’COLA put one together with the help of Dolores Croom, Tami-Ray Hutchinson and Sherry O’Neal; Molly Hill focused on plants; Kathy Archibold and Leslie McWilliams presented ferns; Bonnie Kellogg chose the Orient and sunflowers for her two; and Pam Mahr provided bubbles for hers.
At each place setting was a cloth napkin, bound with twine to a sliced conch shell and dollarweed for decoration.
Gormley had overseen a busy week, teaching the kids how to cook, and how to conduct themselves in a kitchen, and how to work together.
Monday they cooked eggs, Tuesday tacos, Wednesday quesadillas and Thursday pizza, and then on Friday it was a visit to the community garden to see how fruits and vegetables are grown and to take back some.
During the week Lloyd Alford from Water Street Seafood taught a session on how the seafood industry’s local distribution works, with a focus on sustainability. His employer donated 20 pounds of mahi-mahi for the banquet, a generosity shared with 13-Mile which donated shrimp, and other help from Betsy’s Southern Sunflower and Ace Hardware.
The dinner opened with an appetizer of fresh bay shrimp and black bean salsa with lime zest-infused salt with freshly baked corn chips.
The young chefs cleared the tables efficiently and it was time for Manhattan clam chowder with homemade clam fritters. A salad made of Florida spiny lobster over a Brussel sprout salad served with dijonaise and corn strips.
The entree was Jamaican jerk-seasoned fresh local mahi-mahi, atop seasoned black beans, cilantro rice, served with toasted coconut and mango chutney.
The meal closed with Key lime meringue pie.
French Haynes, director of the summer camp, which he introduced last summer, followed with a personal introduction of each of the chefs, describing their growth within the program. Those who received a certificate included Ally Francisco, E’Laina Williams, Jacqueline Godinez, Khambrel Anthony, Marisol Bernabe, Amelia Wolferseder, Franco Bernabe, Mahayla Cannington, Measijah Prince, Sam Erickson, Bella Cannington, Jade Gowan, Ken Erickson, Maleah Bell, Gregory Esteban and Nehemiah Robinson.
“The Moving Education Institute is about creating community,” he said. “Through conversation, through recreation and through play. To me this is play.”
He encouraged people to visit the camp’s website at www.movingeducationinstitute.org and consider donating, to help expand the camp’s demographics to include 6 to 9 year-olds.
He then introduced volunteer Xochi Bervera who talked of working with the kids at the community garen, to transform it all into “fresh, healthy, affordable and culturally expressive food.”