SCH Gets Creative during COVID to Keep Connections Strong

Posted 11/27/20

SCHConnex rolled out a ZOOM cooking class featuring master Chef David Jansen.

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SCH Gets Creative during COVID to Keep Connections Strong


Creativity and resourcefulness have always been a hallmark of the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) program. So this year, when COVID restrictions closed the campus to visitors and canceled all traditional in-person events in order to help keep the school community safe, the times required some new thinking.  Enter the SCH Development team and the leadership of the school’s Parent Association and Alumni Associations.  After an afternoon at the whiteboard, “SCHConnex” emerged.  Designed for parents, alumni, and friends of the school SCHConnex is a series of virtual events that connect participants to new ideas, each other and the SCH community.

This week SCHConnex rolled out a ZOOM cooking class featuring master Chef David Jansen and parent of three SCH alumni. The owner of Jansen, the "upscale American contemporary restaurant" located in Mt. Airy. Jansen is also the former executive chef at Philadelphia’s posh Four Seasons’ Fountain Room and has spent time cooking with some of the best chefs in the world, including Julia Child. He was assisted in the kitchen by his sous chef, camera technician, and wife Debbie Gress Jansen, a longtime Lower School teacher, Springside Class of 1987 and also the parent of 2 SCH grads.

On the menu for the class was the signature French dish, Boeuf Bourguignon, specially chosen for a cozy dinner on an upcoming cold winter night.

A handful of participants had a seat at the table so to speak, serving as guest chefs in the class and were featured on screen, while over 70 participants across the country—young and old—enjoyed from the privacy of their laptop. The banter was fun and informative as Jansen shared techniques for everything from prepping and mincing to sauteing and braising. One of the best pieces of advice came early on in the program when Jansen reminded everyone that a recipe is really just a guideline. “You want to add leeks?  Go ahead.  You don’t have any carrots?  No problem; roll with what you have!”

At the end of the evening, like any good cooking show, Jansen pulled a ready-to-eat perfectly prepared stew from the oven. Others were subject to several more hours on the stove before they could sample their efforts! Last tip of the night?  Jansen is happy to be able to continue serving customers at  Readers are welcome to watch the class on the school’s YouTube account.


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