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Scott Anderson selected for Cook Smart program

By Staff | Mar 2, 2012

Scott Anderson, associate director and chef for Shepherd University’s Dining Services, is helping improve food quality and nutrition at schools in Smithsburg, Md., as part of Cook Smart, a new initiative.

The Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation, partnering with the Maryland State Department of Education, is piloting the Cook Smart initiative in four counties in Maryland.

Anderson, who is a member of the local American Culinary Federation, was selected as the chef to work with schools in Washington County. He will work with K-12 schools in Smithsburg, Md., and help develop 15-20 new recipes and hold a six-day boot camp this summer to go over knife skills and other kitchen skills with cooks in Smithsburg, utilizing what they have in their kitchens in order to bring them up to the skill level to cook from scratch.

“It’s a get-back-to-basics program, relying more on scratch cooking, preparing something from a raw or semi-raw state,” Anderson said. “A lot of times, it’s not coming up with recipes but reinventing old recipes that didn’t work.”

Anderson said part of that will be making dishes with less fat and sodium and more flavor.

The program, funded through a federal grant, will be implemented across the country. Recipes developed by chefs over the course of the next year will be part of the national Cook Smart program and used by other schools.

Anderson said that he wants to encourage eating more fresh food instead of processed food. Anderson writes about healthy eating on his blog and is working with the dietician at Shepherd to help change the way people look at food.

“People are starting to eat more processed food than fresh food. I’m trying to get away from that,” Anderson said. “If we can get kids away from processed food when they’re in junior high, high school and college, we can help change their eating habits.”

Anderson, who began as a part-time catering employee at Shepherd in 1991, serves as a chef consultant for Phillip’s Food, Baltimore, and chef ambassador to Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. He hosts a biweekly cooking program “Culinary Passion” on WHAG TV, Hagerstown, Md., and is the information officer for the National Association of College and University Food Systems, Mid-Atlantic region. Anderson also helps young mothers from Harvest Pointe Church in Charles Town through a group called Young Lives to effectively shop for food and prepare meals.

Anderson’s partnership will run from June 2012 to June 2013. He is in the process of introducing himself to the schools and getting to know the cooks.

“I’m not there to fix their problems; I’m there to help make things a little better,” Anderson said. “I’m not there to tell them what they are doing is wrong. I’m going to show them there is a healthier way to do what they’re doing.”