As a cohort, we were given the opportunity to participate in a two-day special training that involved cooking, photography, videography, and more! This training was more geared towards food advocates due to us having prior experience with knife skills, cutting techniques, and cooking within Green City Force but other Corps Members were invited to participate and help out!
We started off with Carson’s presentation about film. We got a lot of her background and she really helped us understand more about photography, lighting, and sound. We actually had quite a few of us already familiar with photography and/or editing but it was exciting to learn more! I wish the training didn’t have to be so short because it really captured my interest but we had A LOT of work to do! We saw a few pictures and tried to understand the mood/tone of the scene just based off of a photo. We learned a lot about camera angles and how they can determine a lot about the scene, we learned about lighting and how we should position ourselves and/or our subject based on where the lighting is coming from and we even learned how to increase and/or decrease lighting! This mini-course was so unbelievably informative and I thank Carson for putting this material together for us!
We had our lunch break and when we got back, it was time to cook! Chef Sam and Carson monitored and coached us as we prepped for the next day! My team’s recipe was Coconut Braised Collard Greens, we had to practice our Chiffonade cutting technique and study the braising and searing skills. When you perform the Chiffonade, you are cutting something into ribbons, usually, it’s a leafy green so you remove the stem, stack a few leaves, roll them up and cut (using bear claw) whatever size you see fit! It was a brand new recipe for me and while I wasn’t sure how it would taste, I was excited to create it the next day! Aside from food prep, we had to make our plan. We planned out what our scenes were supposed to look like, we planned a general set of lines, and we planned out our run of show. It was incredibly detailed and it really showcased how much planning needs to go into filming something!! We began to wrap up and we noticed it was a bit of a crazy storm outside, it was snowing! I was really excited to see the snow because it gave it such a Winter/Christmas vibe. We helped pack everything into Sam’s car and made sure to get home to rest up for the next day!
COLD!!!! It was such a cold morning and it was a bunch of ice everywhere from the snow the night before! It was a “real feel” temperature in the teens which is well below freezing. I took baby steps, spilled some coffee and still somehow made it on time for filming! My team was up first so we jumped right into it. We started by showing our ingredients on a blank sheet of paper with the names of each ingredient written there, we made sure everything was set and finally began filming! We introduced ourselves, explained the recipe and what ingredients we were using, and began cooking. We demonstrated the bear claw cutting technique, the chiffonade, and slicing. We had a few outtakes but for the most part, we didn’t have any issues and I know it went incredibly well. Once we finished, we joined the rest of our Corps Members next door in the library while we waited for everyone else to finish their recording sessions. It was really fun waiting but it was also FREEZING in there! I went and bought myself a soup because it was so cold! We were huddling, wrapped up in our sweaters and jackets, and sharing food, snacks, drinks, advice, techniques, ideas, and more. It was cold but it was an incredibly fun bonding experience and although I was ready to go home, I enjoyed those hours with Corps Members I don’t get to see very often. At the end of the day, we divided the remaining ingredients, cleaned everything up, and went our separate ways for the day.
Overall, this experience was like no other and I’m incredibly happy to have been apart of it. Sam Pagan has been an extraordinary instructor/chef and I will be forever grateful and proud to have met her! I have an immense amount of respect and admiration for her and everything she has put into the Food Advocacy curriculum for myself and my cohort! Thank you so much to Sam and Carson for making this two-day adventure just that! I hope that we created content that will live on for years and help future cohorts as well as educate other people outside of GCF that may see our videos!