Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, August 7, 2014
Peas in a Pod
Summer work experience turns into cookbook
Portabella mushrooms with fresh basil and tomato are some homegrown produce choices in a mobile food project, Peas in a Pod, run by student interns in Deer Isle.
by Faith DeAmbrose
What started as an idea to create a summer internship work experience has morphed into a larger project that will take six island high school students into their next semester.
Reid Bartlett, Logan Eaton, Morgan Shepard, Ally Eaton, Kasi Billings and Orly Vaughn have spent the last few months operating a mobile food stand under the direction of the Ready by 21 program and mentor Kyra Alex. Their idea—and food—was so well received that they are now working on a cookbook of their recipes.
The mobile food concept taught the students how to create and execute menus and order and prepare food. They set up shop around the Island in places such as the Deer Isle Congregational Church, Deer Isle Farmers’ Market and the parking lot of the Penobscot East Resource Center. The mobile food experience also brought the students to larger catering events such as the 75th anniversary celebration for the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge.
Using locally sourced foods whenever possible, the students also got a taste for what it means to be a proprietor of a small business.
They also quickly learned one of the basics of small business ownership—diversification. The students have documented their experiences and recipes and are in the process of turning it into a cookbook that will be available for purchase.
There are about 40 recipes in the soon-to-be-released cookbook, said Orly Vaughn in a recent interview, including salads, sandwiches and desserts. Vaughn said that the book will contain recipes and information about the students and how they fared throughout the summer. “The recipes and stories capture the whole experience of what we did all summer,” he said.
“We made so many recipes and people really loved them,” said Morgan Shepard. “So, we are happy to be able to share them.” Shepard said the summer internship taught her a lot and she hopes to do it again next summer.
“It showed us the ‘adult side’ [of the food service industry],” said Ally Eaton, who managed the food ordering throughout the summer. “Kyra [Alex] helped for the first two weeks, but then we were on our own and it eventually became easy,” she said.
For Eaton, the internship not only taught her how to create really great food (like her favorite, lemon cheesecake with raspberry jam), but also fostered friendships along the way. She said of the other students, “We’re all now practically best friends,” and she also hopes to be able to do it again next year.
The cookbooks are being made by hand by the students and are only available for purchase through preorder to avoid making more than needed. Those wishing to preorder can do so by calling 367-5936 or by emailing Kyra Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.