By Angelina Jahn
Local Grand Rapids chefs participated in day two of the disaster relief training program at Grand Rapids Community College in partnership with World Central Kitchen on Nov. 23.
The Tuesday training focused on the preparation of a paella-style dish, prepared on a standing comal griddle on the patio just outside of the Applied Technology Center and the library.
According to World Central Kitchen chef Alejandro Perez, the not-for-profit organization takes into consideration the area that they are assisting to distribute specific nutritional needs when deciding what to prepare.
“Chef relief training is a crash course on how World Central Kitchen takes chefs and their skills into disasters,” Perez said. “It starts all the way from assessment and understanding what the disaster was and how much damage there is, all the way to volunteers, distribution, procurement, to nutrition. We make sure that if we’re in a place where there’s some kind of deficiency in nutrition, we take that into consideration as well.”
When asked why paella is a good dish to prepare in emergency situations, Perez said, “This is technically not a paella; the rice that we use is different. We call this paella cooking. We utilize the paella pan more as a flexible tool to be able to produce a lot of food really quickly.”
When commenting on the ability of the chefs participating in the two-day training course, Perez noted that the individuals had a lot of potential to give back to their community.
“They’re clearly very talented chefs on their own and it shows, it really shows,” Perez said. “I’m really excited to see what the future of these chefs are gonna look like after going through this training and understanding a little bit more of how disaster relief works and how chefs can impact their community.”
Those in attendance were invited to grab a to-go container of the paella style dish prepared.