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Role Model Chefs: Teens teaching younger kids how to cook and eat healthier!

Teenagers will go through a chef training program to teach cooking classes in elementary and middle schools. Both teens and younger children will learn the benefits or healthy eating and get excited to cook with their friends and family.

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22 113

Written by DeletedUser

Kids naturally look up to older kids. In an effort to get kids to eat healthier, high school students will be recruited to go through a chef training program where they can receive community service hours from. This training program will teach them good eating habits and how to cook fresh food from scratch. After the training program they will be assigned to a nearby elementary or middle school to teach cooking classes to once a week. The training program will provide valuable leadership skills and hopefully instill a lifelong passion for healthy eating and cooking. The younger kids will be excited to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains from the messages they receive in the cooking class taught by the teens. It's a win-win situation!

Evaluation results

9 evaluations so far

1. Food Knowledge - To what extent is this concept teaching people about food knowledge?

It's teaching people a great deal about food knowledge - 66.7%

It's teaching people a moderate deal about food knowledge - 33.3%

It's teaching people a little about food knowledge - 0%

It's not focused on food knowledge - 0%

2. Cooking - Is this concept focused on getting people to cook?

It's all about getting people to cook - 88.9%

It's moderately about getting people to cook - 11.1%

It's getting people to cook a little - 0%

It's not focused on cooking at all - 0%

3. Originality - How original is this idea?

This idea is extremely original - 11.1%

This idea is somewhat original - 88.9%

This idea has some originality about it - 0%

I have seen this idea before - 0%

4. Scalability - How scalable is this idea across communities and geographies?

This idea can be scaled across many communities and places - 33.3%

This idea can be scaled but needs some work - 55.6%

This idea will take a fair bit of work to scale - 11.1%

This idea cannot scale at all - 0%

22 comments

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Photo of Christopher

Not only does this teach kids how to cook in a healthy manner, it also educates them on how to use a kitchen, clean the dishes, table manners and so on. Besides that, I can definitely see the fun aspect. Thumbs up!

Photo of James Simpkins

As a chef, I like this idea a LOT. I would add on the importance of focusing on ratios/formulas as opposed to recipes... When you know a formula, you know 1000 recipes. In addition, the focus on formulas simplifies the way one thinks about making cuisine and allows for individual interpretation and experimentation....something kids of all ages like.

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DeletedUser

I really like your approach and find it very promising. One short notice. Propably it might be difficult to recruit older students that act as cooking coaches. It will be critical to communicate the personal benefit that one potentially has, by taking part in the project. One such benefit could be the development of core competencies that are needed in todays business environment. Such as inspiring other people, educating others, changeing perspectives etc.

By that you could highlight the personal outcome for older students that cannot be motivated only by doing something useful.

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DeletedUser

genius idea to work with the natural tendency of children to ape the older ones as opposed to fighting it. though i believe getting the teenagers genuinely exited about teaching and sharing may be slightly tricky. perhaps team cooking games and competitions can also help excite the kids further.

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DeletedUser

I may be echoing other posts, but I like how this idea bridges between young and older students. This concept has allot of potential, especially if healthy cooking/eating practices are reinforced at home. It seems critical to communicate the "why" in all of this. Showing students the rewards of a better diet and lifestyle. I've only started eating better in the last few years after realizing that I am not invincible and the importance of consistent energy in the workplace.

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DeletedUser

Children will, in the most part, make their own choices on what they eat and like. I believe the decision come from a perceived experience of food. Also, young people dont need (in their own minds) to worry about health. This concept is great because it dosent hang on scaring kids with health issues, it changes the perceived experience with the influence of piers. If you were to bridge the gap between the older and younger students in the lesson, the younger students would see and make the link of growing older, becoming cooler, eating smarter. Good luck with this project.

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DeletedUser

Jackie, this is a great idea! I hope it spreads to all corners of the country. It's hard for busy parents to convince their kids to eat healthy when what they get in school is easy to prepare processed food. It can be easy when given the right tools at an early age. When young impressionable minds are susceptible to the pressure of what all their friends are eating (after this program more fresh veggies and grains!), with the helpful guidance of older kids - the healthy path will be easy to pave. Good luck to you!

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DeletedUser

This is awesome! Great way to build awareness!!!

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DeletedUser

Jackie is well on her way to revolutionize the way kids eat and look at food, through mentoring and participation. She's a cooking instructor, specializing in teaching children how to eat healthy while having fun and she's getting her RD and Master's in Nutrition. What's not to love?

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DeletedUser

Mustafa: I've been teaching kids cooking classes for several years now and most of my classes are actually half girls, half boys. Their parents aren't forcing them to take it either. Kids more than ever are curious about food and I give the food programs on TV (like Iron Chef and Top Chef) a lot of credit for getting us to think more thoughtfully about we are eating and get excited about cooking! It's no surprise that enrollment at culinary schools is up -- there's something *cool* about being a chef now. We need to use this to our advantage and draw kids in the same way, but focus on teaching them good eating habits and how to make better food choices. When I first started teaching I was shocked to find that kids now have more developed palates than I did at their age. They are serious little foodies!!

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DeletedUser

To ah-nah-EES]: Believe it or not I read an article about a kids cooking show not too long ago. There's one in Chicago called Jr. Cuisine Cooking Show and another in Tulsa called Cook Time with Remmi. I think it's a great way of teaching kids but I just hope the kids actually get to cook what they learn about in their own homes with their parents so they can get the full experience !

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DeletedUser

Patrick: Thanks for your comment. I envision that if this idea would come to fruition we would absolutely use the facilities of culinary institutes to teach the teens. But training doesn't necessarily need to happen in a culinary school. Lots of the training can be done right in classrooms and school kitchens too, which makes this project accessible to everyone -- even areas that may not have a culinary school nearby.

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DeletedUser

Emir: As a culinary instructor, I know the importance of giving kids the space they need to explore and experiment. Discovering a whole new world of foods, tastes, and textures is exciting and will surely get kids to take ownership of their food choices, which is the most important part of this project -- teaching them about food but also showing them how to properly fuel their bodies so they feel great, have lots of energy, etc.

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DeletedUser

i think.... if children understand why food tastes good and bad and how you can control these variables they will "do the maths" ..showing simply is not personable enough, they need to have new found knowledge and want to 'experiment'... set menus and meals are the wrong way to learn how to cook in my opinion and learning how to cook an actual meal rather then understand what happens in the process of cooking and eating from anyone on a philosophical level, is quite damaging....theory is way more important, and the doing, can be done as part of trial an error,.. on a free form basis..

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DeletedUser

You're right; kids need to be taught these skills by slightly older people who they can relate to! If the Vegetable Circus Stage Shows & After-School Programs concept wins, we plan on including cooking education in our after-school programs, in a manner very much like your concept! I'm glad to see this overlap!

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DeletedUser

Brill concept- I have previously taught kids cooking classes with teenage chef assistants and the younger kids were always more receptive to the teens than myself as an adult.

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DeletedUser

Jackie - love this! This is also part of my concept - getting kids cooking for kids, and passing on their enthusiasm for good food.

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DeletedUser

Kids teaching kids seems like it would be be very effective. It reminds me that many of our schools now have culinary academies, as well as other non-profits helping kids learn to cook: see Guy Fieri's feature on Worth our Weight
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20100909/NEWS/100909525/1349?Title=Santa-Rosa-cafe-wows-Fieri

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DeletedUser

I actually see this as a great model for a TV show. it seems to me that kids do look up to teenagers. having other kids be part of the show as cooking assistants could also increase the factor of identification. I like this idea since, by picking recipes that are kid friendly, it shows that cooking is within the range of kids and teenagers, and, as some of the inspirations were pointing out, kids/teens do tend to eat things they have helped prepared. the hurdle is trying to address is the prevalent mentality of telling kids to stay away from the kitchen ("cause is dangerous", "cause they will make a mess", etc) and instead integrate them with activities and recipes that are age appropriate.

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DeletedUser

I think more guys like cooking than one would think. I made a cookbook when I was in elementary school.

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DeletedUser

I really like the idea. but how can you carry a teenager to go to a chef training program unless they already like food and cooking? - I believe, the girls might go for that, but not the guys and the main aim is addressed to both girls and boys-
I HOPE my predictions are wrong and the idea WORKS.