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GROVE (AP) – On a mission to offer fresh food preparation information to area school cooks, Partners for Ottawa County Inc., Delaware County Community Partnership and Cherokee Nation recently joined forces to offer a full-day workshop featuring some of the top chefs and nutrition consultants in the area.

Thomas Mangos, property executive chef for Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, led the charge with a full day of interaction and training with the attendees. The 2015 Delaware & Ottawa County School Chef Workshop was held Aug. 6 at Grove Publics Schools.

Among the 14 area school districts that sent school chefs to participate in the workshop were Miami, Fairland, Quapaw, Commerce, Afton, Turkey Ford and Welch.

“We are excited to partner with Cherokee Nation to bring a program like this to our community,” Summer Beck, secretary of the Delaware County Community Partnership and Partners for Ottawa County Inc. and community education coordinator for INTEGRIS, said. “This free training provided a much-needed service to our local school districts by offering food service workers the opportunity for continuing education by industry professionals – right in their own backyard.”

Among other presenters, Mangos presented a Beautiful Food Nourishing Beautiful Minds demonstration, participated in a roundtable discussion and prepared lunch for the 100 school cooks and 25 helpers in attendance.

“This is a huge blessing. Not only the nutrition aspect of the training, but also the meal,” said Kathie Hanna, food service manager for Grove Public Schools. “Our cooks are always waiting on other people; they hardly ever get waited on themselves. They aren’t just ‘lunch ladies’ and ‘lunch men,’ they put a lot of love into the food they prepare for the children on a daily basis.”

Others districts represented were Kansas, Jay, Cleora, Kenwood, Grove, Colcord and Moseley.

“We received a lot of positive feedback and hope to be able to provide additional trainings for our schools in the future,” said Beck. “Thank you to Chef Thomas Mangos, Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs and the staff for their contributions; the Grove Schools for hosting; and all of the presenters for making the day a success.”

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