One of the questions I am frequently asked is how do you make your camp safe for kids with food allergies? While most of our community members have no known allergies or intolerances, about 10% of our campers and counselors do, and they range from needing to eat peanut and tree nut free to having to avoid gluten, mustard, dairy, egg, soy and even citrus. So it’s certainly a fair question, and we do a great deal to serve safe food!
First and foremost, we never allow any foods on our campus that contain even a hint of peanuts and tree nuts. This includes items containing sesame, peanut oil, or even certain seeds. We inspect labels on everything, including candy, granola, dried fruit, ice cream, and even spices to make sure that what we serve is made in factories that do not process peanuts and tree nuts. We also work very closely with our food distributors to make sure that they keep us up-to-date on any changes that occur in the factories that we are buying from. When we serve things like hummus, pesto or Chinese food we make it in our kitchen so that it contains no tahini, pine nuts or sesame oil.
But this only keeps us peanut and tree nut free. What about our campers with Celiac Sprue or who are allergic to ingredients like garlic or milk? For them we have a full-time chef who prepares individual meals for the members of our community with food allergies and intolerances. Her name is Kyla Radziejewski, and we could not be happier to introduce her to you!
During the non-Camp season Kyla is the head chef at a fraternity house in Florida. She specializes in making farm-to-table dishes for vegetarians and people with food allergies. Quite simply, her meals are amazing. Earlier this week she made a lasagna filled with roasted summer squash, spices and a super-tasty creamy sauce. While it smelled amazing, it looked a little different than anything we had ever served before at Camp. With a little trepidation we all tasted it…and a room full of counselors and coaches suddenly began raving and cheering at how good it tasted. That’s what Kyla’s cooking is like. It’s tasty and healthy and totally amazing.
But how does she make these meals and keep our kids with allergies safe? Thankfully, she’s an extremely organized person who really cares about the people eating her food. To help her we also have given her an entire set of cook wear that is BRIGHT purple, while everything else in the kitchen is metallic grey or black. Only Kyla can use the purple pots, pans, strainers, ladles, cutting boards, and knives. It helps ensure that we never have any cross contamination here!
Another thing that Kyla does to make sure that we serve the proper food to our campers is that she gets on the phone with their moms and dads to find out exactly what their allergies or food intolerances are. And adjacent to the window where she serves food to campers and staff there is an array of photos of each camper with a known allergy, along with a list of what they can and cannot eat. It’s all part of our system to feed our kids well, and keep them safe!
When you are away from home certain things make a huge difference in your quality of life. In our experience, those differences include sleeping well, feeling physically and emotionally safe, being surrounded by friends, having fun, getting quality exercise, and eating really, really well.
We are very excited for this summer and for the super talented chef team that we have assembled. We have five experienced chefs from around the country, along with Kristie, our amazing baker, and they are committed to putting together the best, tastiest menu in our camp’s 85 year history!
Camps Kenwood and Evergreen is a brother-sister summer camp for children ages 8-15 in Wilmot, NH. We invite you to learn more about our summer camp that is focused on child development