Students Whip Up New Flavors in the FLIK Teaching Kitchen

Fifth and eighth-grade students are learning to taste, smell and cook in the FLIK Teaching Kitchen! Corporate Regional Chef Eric Miller and Registered Dietitian Ana Forte created age-appropriate activities to get students excited about being in the kitchen.

Fifth graders sat down to several rows of different taste sensations yesterday. Bitter, sour, salty, sweet and umami (which means “delicious” in Japanese and defined as a savory flavor associated most closely with a feeling of comfort) were on the menu, and students tasted small samples of things like coffee, lemons, capers, honey and parmesan cheese. They were champs of sniffing and sipping, trying foods they’d never heard of and cleansing their palettes with fresh parsley. Some of the flavors received bigger reactions than others with apple cider vinegar being the least favorite item on the menu and chocolate the most celebrated.

Students were surprised how delicious different flavors were when combined. First, they tried lemon zest on their shiitake mushrooms and then parmesan on a slice of melon—both recipes had the students curious about other combinations they could make.

In the eighth-grade kitchen, students approached a cooking workbench complete with avocados, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro and lime. They learned to safely cut the avocados and remove the pit, dice the tomatoes and cilantro and roll the lime to make it easier to squeeze. In the end, they all made incredible guacamole!

“The guac was so good,” said eighth-grader Brooke Herndon.

The kitchen was inspired by a ten-year relationship between the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The Compass Group North America (who own FLIK) is a proud sponsor and founding member of the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative, an invitational network of roughly 30, thought-leading organizations using teaching kitchen facilities to enhance personal and public health across medical, corporate, school and community settings. Visit for more information.