Indigenous Cooking Course
Peggy Setoguchi, MS ELL Teacher

Peggy Setoguchi, Middle School ELL Teacher

At Forest Ridge, the Middle School ELL (English Language Learning) students have a unique opportunity to take part in an interdisciplinary cooking course with our FRidge chefs, Chef Ron Askew and Chef Marisa Mendoza. This is our second year of combining MS ELL and the Fridge to bring language learning to a whole new level for our students. This experiential learning not only engages students, but also challenges them in unique and creative ways. This year we focused our learning on four areas of indigenous people in the United States, comparing and contrasting to the native indigenous people in each of the student’s home countries.

To prepare for this course, each student researched about the Northwest, Plains, Northeast and Aztec/Mexico regions. They provided infographics and cuisine options for the Fridge chefs to make as a general menu plan for the course. Before distance learning, we had classes on campus with a hands-on cooking and learning experience.

The FRidge team has created informational videos that are pre-recorded and streamed for the students, making informational fliers and preparing individual boxed kits that are sent to the families directly through the mail. On the actual cooking class days, ELL students are working with the ingredients “live” with the FRidge team to make the dishes – discussing what they have learned and asking questions. After each class, students are asked to continue their learning through writing using technology via Microsoft Sway. The Sway encompasses all the learning these students have done for this project over the course of five months.

During these unusual times, a goal of the ELL/FRidge partnership was to make this a “whole family” experience. The engagement from our families has been overwhelming. Families are extending the learning experience by taking the knowledge they and their daughters have learned by planting their own ‘Three Sisters’’ garden, learning about the seeds the indigenous people used, how to make the culinary dishes made by each indigenous region studied and taste testing the food the girls make as part of the course.