Department of Nourishment Arts® (DNA®)

Logo DNA 2014

Department of Nourishment Arts® (DNA®)

In an effort to fully blanket the entire food program under one department, the Center has created a new department that encompasses our seed to belly philosophy.  Aptly named The Department of Nourishment Arts®, it brings together the farm, the culinary program, and the nutrition department all under one umbrella to better serve the overall food mission of the Agency.  By having all of these food parts working together for a common goal, the food program has made major steps in promoting healing and quality of life for our residents. The focus of DNA® then is to bring awareness to the way we treat the food. The mission is not only to feed our residents or guests as we like to call them, but to take care of them. Hence the term “nourishment” – which means both food and hospitality –which encompasses everything around the food, from the farming, to the nutrition, to the way the guests eat. Our intent behind “nourishment” is as the way a mother cares for her child – wholesome, nurturing, steadfast.

To accomplish this mission, it is important to not only train the chefs but everyone at the center, especially people who work in direct relationship with the chefs and the guests. Because, for example, in a restaurant where the chef is fantastic, if the waiter and staff in the dining room don’t care, or don’t know the information, the philosophy, if they aren’t connected to the purpose, even if the chef is fantastic, that restaurant will fail.

Current DNA® Projects

Culinary Arts Program:
Our chefs are currently taking part in weekly classes encompassing proper food safety, culinary skills, professional conduct, nutrition, whole foods cooking, and basics of farming.  The program is designed to give our chefs the special skills necessary to act as food ambassadors within each residence – overseeing the food needs of our residents and making sure every house joins in our food mission.  The ultimate goal of this program is to bring master chefs from New York City to share their recipes and their food philosophies.  The master chefs will bring a special recipe that they will teach the Center chefs who will then prepare the dish in their residence.  Thus, our residents will enjoy meals designed by some of the finest chefs in the world.

School Lunch:
The Center for Discovery recently decided to forgo participation for its residents in the National School Lunch Program and instead provide the students with lunch from the residential kitchens.  The Center feels proper whole foods nutrition is so important to health and healing that we could not in good conscience allow our residents to continue to eat such highly processed, poor quality food.  Instead, students now receive lunch that is of the same high quality standards the Center applies to all of its meals.

Food Quality:
Our goal is to upgrade all sources of food, even those that come to us from outside the Agency.  Our first priority in terms of upgrading outside food quality is to choose vendors whose growing practices are similar to ours and to incorporate as many local vendors as is feasible.  This is an ongoing process but our first focus is to upgrade our animal products to pastured, preferable organic or at least organic like practices, obviously with no hormones or antibiotics, and treated humanely.

 The Center for Discovery’s patented FlexTable – “A Table for All”