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Message from ISTP Parents

"We love Taste Week! Ethan S. looks forward every year to smell the wonderful delicious aroma while standing in line and awaiting patiently for his plate of new food to try. He is typically skeptical of trying new things, however with friends around, ISTP wonderful environment of parents participation and the best dessert ever - he loves it! This year it was hard since he just gotten braces, but luckily they had rice and gravy. We hope that ISTP continues this tradition every year, so kids can explore other types of food."

Elisa S.,
ISTP Parent 2015

My name is Marie-Helene Catanese; my two kids are students at the International School of The Peninsula. I am also a parent volunteer in the Hot Lunch committee. Last October, I had the pleasure to be involved in the first Taste Week in the School.

We started the week with a full gourmet lunch of French, Italian, Iranian and Chinese dishes using ground meat. As I volunteer to help served the kids, I have to report in the small school kitchen. Quickly the little kitchen took the form of a five star restaurant kitchen; there was people everywhere, tomato sauce simmering, pot and pan full of food.
French Chef Philippe Bressolier told us how 16 years ago, he started the first Taste Week (semaine du goût) in France, and how he wanted to educate the children about the art of gastronomy, and the art of good eating.

Finally the dishes were ready and Chef Bressolier gives his speech to the kids, introducing the meal there were going to taste, how you can cook a lot of different dishes from one main ingredient, and how good eating habits start at a young age.

We were really busy in the kitchen, but I really enjoy seeing all these kids tasting some unknown dishes and listening to the history of the gastronomy. They take time to savor each of the 5 dishes; the desert being a home made  “Mousse au chocolat.”

Sincerely, Marie-Helene Catanese, ISTP parent 2003

My two daughters enthused about Taste Week at the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP): learning more about other cultures through food, and food through other cultures, the festive atmosphere and, of course, eating. What could be better?

I was on the team serving the children at the Taste Week special lunch. Everyone – parents, teachers and staff included – marveled at the creativity of the cooks (the food was beautifully presented as well as tasting good), enjoyed new taste sensations and reveled in the sheer fun of the event.

But there is so much more to Taste Week than excitement: underlying the festivities are the messages we are sending our children on the emotional importance of good food, a deeper awareness of different cultures, and a discerning attitude towards eating that will serve them throughout their lives. The ISTP weaves these ideals into teaching throughout the year, but the Taste Week is also an opportunity to place more emphasis on them: in my elder daughter’s class, for instance, the children baked lemon tarts to sell at recess using lemons from the children’s gardens.

At a time when we are facing an obesity crisis in our schools, and, we are told, a breakdown in family mealtimes, it behooves us to help support families in appreciating not just the nutritional, but also the emotional and sensory importance of well-prepared food. Taste Week can’t do all that for all people, of course. But it’s a wonderful start.

Yours faithfully, Margaret Parkinson 2003

When I first heard about the Taste week event, I did not imagine I would meet one of the founders of “La semaine du goût” so well known in my native country France. And I got really excited about having the possibility to be part of the first attempt to introduce it in California. I then accepted to help for the cooking and the serving at the International School of the Peninsula, the school my son was attending.

This was a wonderful and very enriching experience to work with the team in charge, for several reasons.
First, as the objective was to use the different cuisines of the world and that we were lucky to have parents from different countries, it was fascinating to learn about their dishes and traditions. We could also share our cooking tips and could learn how a chef gets organized when cooking in such big quantities.

Then on the D-day, I can tell you it is a challenge to serve 200 meals, aiming at having hot food hot and nobody waiting while others are eating…The atmosphere in the kitchen was …busy!….

And last, the rewarding moment, when you see all plates coming back empty, the smiles on the kids’ faces and their comments! My son, seven, summarized it by saying to me: “I wish it could be like this everyday!”

So today I really hope that this event can grow across California because at a time when obesity has become a major cause of death in the United States, we must educate our children about the “well eating” and the original taste of food. I know that more and more people ask for a review and enhancement of the meals provided at school and the taste week is a wonderful way of initiating this effort. I wish chef Philippe Bressolier will receive the support he needs to be able to accomplish this major task.

Best regards, Francoise Debost 2004

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International School of the Peninsula
151 Laura Lane
Palo Alto, CA 94303 
(650) 251-8520