On April 21st, a transformative event took place at the picturesque Re Farm Cafe located at Windswept Farms in State College, Pennsylvania. This kitchen electrification event was the second of three events across Pennsylvania in partnership with Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania (PSR PA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). The commercial kitchen electrification workshop was held to educate attendees on the CHECK program and the benefits of electrified commercial kitchens. Nestled amidst rolling green fields and embraced by a gentle breeze, Re Farm Cafe provided the ideal location for the workshop. The rustic charm of the farm and its commitment to organic, locally sourced ingredients perfectly aligned with the ethos of the event. As participants arrived, they were greeted by the warm and inviting atmosphere of the cafe, setting the tone for a day of exploration, learning, and culinary delights.
Chef Chris at the Induction Cooking Demonstration Workshop at Swarthmore College Dining Center
The workshops serve as a platform to raise awareness about the Pennsylvania DEP's Cooking in Healthy Electrified Commercial Kitchens (CHECK) program, an initiative designed to offer commercial kitchens support if they choose to transition to electric cooking equipment. The program offers financial incentives, technical assistance, and valuable resources to help businesses make the switch to more sustainable practices. By showcasing the benefits of electrification, the workshops aim to inspire participants to consider this eco-friendly alternative for their own establishments.
The heart of the workshop, led by experts from the DEP, Re Farm Café and Forward Dining Solutions highlighted electric cooking. The sessions highlighted the environmental advantages of electrification, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased throughput, and improved indoor air quality to name a few. PSR PA spoke about the harmful pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, that are released by natural gas stoves which can be toxic to chefs, kitchen staff and students; and cause high levels of indoor pollution. Also highlighted were the variety and efficiency of electric appliances, dispelling any doubts about their culinary capabilities. From induction cooktops to demand control ventilation, participants discovered the range of options available to meet their specific cooking needs.
Demonstration from the Induction Cooking Demonstration Workshop at Swarthmore College Dining Center
Accomplished chefs from Re Farm Cafe showcased their culinary expertise using electric equipment. The audience watched as the precision and speed of induction cooking were showcased, witnessing the seamless transition from raw ingredients to delectable dishes. As the aroma of freshly prepared bites filled the air, it became evident that electric cooking was not only sustainable but also yielded outstanding results.
The best part of the workshop was the farm-to-table feast that awaited participants during the workshop. The Re Farm Cafe team crafted a menu that showcased the bountiful offerings of local produce, thoughtfully prepared using electric appliances. Dishes bursting with flavors and vibrant colors delighted the taste buds of attendees, proving that sustainable cooking need not compromise on taste or quality. The communal dining experience fostered lively conversations and provided a platform for networking among like-minded individuals passionate about sustainable practices. As conversations flowed and plates were savored, a collective commitment to reducing carbon footprints and embracing sustainable practices emerged.
Throughout the workshop, participants engaged in open dialogue and vibrant discussions with industry professionals, DEP representatives, and fellow attendees. Sharing experiences, challenges, and successes, the participants discovered new insights and solutions for their own commercial kitchens. The supportive environment nurtured connections and fostered collaborations, creating a network of individuals committed to advancing sustainability in the culinary field.
Chef Chris answering questions from the Induction Cooking Demonstration Workshop at Swarthmore College Dining Center
As the workshop drew to a close, participants left with newfound knowledge, inspiration, and a sense of empowerment to make a positive change in their businesses. Equipped with the resources provided by the DEP's CHECK program, many expressed their intention to explore the possibilities of electrifying their client’s or their own commercial kitchens . The ripple effect of this event promises to extend beyond Windswept Farms, inspiring others across Pennsylvania and beyond to consider sustainable cooking practices.
Look for more induction cooking workshops coming to an area near you this fall!