Cornwall, Ontario – This summer the Agapè Centre’s popular kids cooking program is taking food from garden to table.
The ‘Curious Chefs: Cooking Club for Kids’ will offer two more sessions to youth in the community for free, starting June 30.
“In recent years, there has been an increased rise on the importance of the role of food in health and how food is grown and processed. Improving food literacy is important and will support healthier food choices in diet and better food skills,” said Alyssa Blais, executive director of the Agapè Centre.
“It matters to us and we want to continue providing these programs as part of our core services.”
The 5-week cooking class teaches healthy eating on a budget, and focuses on kitchen safety, nutritious school snacks and lunches, portion sizes, the four major food groups, and food labels. And of course, there will be plenty of cooking and eating.
New to the program this year is gardening.
“We like the ‘from garden to table’ concept – teaching children where food comes from, and hopefully inspiring a newfound appreciation for food,” she said.
Kids will grow their greens thumbs by spending the first hour of each session learning how to plant, tend, and harvest fresh produce in the Agapè Centre’s garden, which is filled with a few hundred plants donated by Transition Cornwall + and Hoople Creek Farm. The veggies they pick will be both used in their kitchen creations, and packaged to give away in the food bank.
“I’m super excited to teach children about the importance of fresh foods and how rewarding it is to grow your own food,” said program facilitator Chelaine Klauburg.
The budding chefs will prepare an entrée and dessert at each session, with enough to spare to bring some leftovers home. Creative activities, like a weekly ‘Fear Factor’, will challenge them to try new or exotic foods, like kale, asparagus, or pomegranate.
“I want to help remove the misconception that it’s difficult to cook,” said Klauburg, who has a background in the culinary industry. “Kids that are comfortable in the kitchen are more likely to eat healthier food.”
More than 75 young people took part in Curious Chefs during the summer of 2014. Parents of past participants have said their children are taking an active role in the kitchen, and are choosing healthier options for their lunches and school snacks.
Any youth between the ages of 7 and 16 can participate, free of charge.
The program will take place at the Agapè Centre from 2:00 – 6:00 pm on Tuesdays for ages 7-10 (June 30 to July 28) and on Thursdays for ages 11-16 (July 2 to July 30).
Registration opens on June 16. Forms will be available online and at the Agapè Centre’s reception desk (40 Fifth Street West). Sign up early. Last year the classes were completely booked within two weeks.
Since space is limited, priority will be given to those who can attend all of the sessions.
For more information visit www.agapecentre.ca or contact reception: 613-938-9297 ext. 26.