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HILLSBORO - At Liberty High School in Hillsboro, 24 cooks from a variety of school districts gathered to learn new recipes and techniques for high-nutrition cooking.

Cooking faster and with more nutrition is a big focus of this workshop which was put on by Oregon s Department of Education.

Chef Garrett Berdan gets down to the basics.

If you want to (make) a chopped-style slaw, you can slice it to shreds then chop it up, he told another cook.

He discovers missing skills in some.

No, the sesame seeds are not toasted yet, he tells another cook. So we have to do that? she asked. Yes, he said. Do you know how? No, she answered. We're gonna fake it. Fake it till we make it.

Both laughed and then he explained how to toast the seeds.

The women here all love to cook. But sometimes they're buried by the huge task each day.

Heidi Olson cooks for the Jewell school district. She and Diane Lucia prepare meals each day for 700 kids. She's here learning techniques to cook faster and focus more on meals made from scratch.

Twenty years ago I was in school food service, said Gritta Grether Sweeney, Director of Food Services for Portland Public Schools. And we did a lot of things from scratch. Over the years, we had more prepared items and now we're going back to preparing more things on-site, she said.

The skills learned at Liberty High Schoolwill help.

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