How to Create a Kitchen on Wheels for School Tastings

As a member of the School Health Team at my three youngest daughters’ school, I’ve spent the last year working on purchasing a kitchen cart with my co-team leaders. It’s a fantastic way to cook in classrooms while being portable and self contained. We have two gardens outside of each classroom. Part of this is because it’s a public Montessori school so gardening is usually tied in with the Montessori philosophy. In our state, we aren’t allowed to use the food grown in our gardens in the cafeteria but we are allowed to taste it. We have parents, grandparents, and teachers who’ve been cooking the garden harvests for years so we decided to make it easier for them with the mobile kitchen. We also wanted to ensure that students in the classes where the tastings haven’t been occurring would also get the chance to experience food from the school garden.

Through a grant from Fuel Up To Play 60, we received $2000. We put $1000 of that towards a disc golf program to use during P.E. and the other $1000 towards our kitchen cart. It’s really helpful to have someone on your team who has experience with grant writing because I do not!

We bought this cart from Ikea. The wheels did not come with it so to make it portable we added those. There is plenty of counter space and drawer space to add everything you need. We bought this convection toaster over from Krups. If you don’t have enough funding to purchase everything needed make a giving tree and put it in your school lobby with items on each “leaf.” Or send out a list to your school asking for donations to the cart.
Read more about my experience with school garden food policy here and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re interested in doing these kinds of projects in your school or district.
Recommended Inventory for classroom kitchen carts: (Courtesy of Friendship Gardens)
1
Kitchen Cart. Preferably stainless steel for durability and ease of cleaning. Butcherblock countertop to stay cool with hot cooking devices on top, durability, and ability to use as extra cutting board.  (at least 3’x2’)
1
Display mirror for kitchen cart
1-2
Large toaster-convection oven with roasting pans (Krups brand)
1
Extra large electric burner (for use with sauté pans large enough for preparing food samples for a double class and/or parents and children)
1
Blender
4
Mixing bowls in various sizes, rubber grip on bottom
2
Colanders
3+
Wooden spoons (non-reactive and non-stick safe)
2-3
Tongs
3
Spatulas/rubber scrapers
2-3
Turners
1
Plastic coated whisk
2
Vegetable peelers
1 set
Kitchen knives with safety guards
1
Additional paring knife
2-3
Kid safe knives (still needs to have adult supervision)
3
Cutting boards
2 sets
Measuring cups (at least ¼, 1/3, ½, 1 cup sizes
2 sets
Measuring spoons (1/4, 1/2, 1 tsp, 1 Tbsp)
2-3
Frying/sauté pans with metal handles and lids
2-3
2 quart sauce pans with lids
4
Cookie sheets
2
Glass 8×8 baking pans
1-2
OXO salad spinner
1
Shaker for dressings and sauces
4
Flat pot holders
2 sets
Hand mitts
10
Thin towels (for drying produce and dishes)
6
Terry towels
1
Salt and pepper mill set
1
Vinegar cruet
60
Bamboo, reusable plates (≈$1 each)
60
Fork, spoon, knife sets (≈$1.25 each)
60
Cloth napkins (purchase bolts or lengths of fabric in school colors)
Cork shelf liner
Staples:
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Dish soap
Hand sanitizer
Apple cider vinegar
Spice blends (+dried herbs from garden)
honey

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