The Young Chefs Program: From Cooking to Science has taken many new directions since last time we sent an update. This email highlights some of our newest developments, including new curriculum materials, summer programming, and the building of a garden in Northfield, MN.
We developed new open-access lesson plans and resources, expanding our open-access curriculum to 18 lessons, with more in the pipeline. The newest lessons explore a range of different concepts, including: molecular neuroscience and chemical solubility (chili peppers); acids and bases (homemade pickles); crystal formation and microscopic-macroscopic relationships (chocolate), protein crosslinking and gluten formation (pie crusts), physical changes (popcorn), olfaction and physiology (spice-roasted nuts), catalysis and the Maillard Reaction (onions), and more. Have a look for yourself, at https://youngchefsprogram.org/curriculum/lesson-plans/
We built a school garden at the local middle school in Northfield, MN. Funded by Kitchen Garden Laboratory and spearheaded by Carleton students Erin Roth ’16 and Christian Purnell ’17, this garden is now fully operational, serving as an edible laboratory for the students enrolled in the summer BLAST program taking Young Chefs classes in Northfield. You can read the latest updates on our blog, https://youngchefsprogram.org/blog/
We expanded our program to new locations. Our curriculum is now used regularly by educators all across the U.S, and even in Canada, where our newest chapter was recently established. We are very excited to continuously extend our network of educators and students involved in science and cooking education. There are a total of 15 locations now using the curriculum in various ways, and we are excited for many more. Find a map of all our programs at https://youngchefsprogram.org/our-story/current-projects/
We brought our curriculum to new communities and educators during the summer. The summer has been extremely busy. In addition to the weekly summer programming in Northfield, MN, we have worked closely with Bill Yosses and had the opportunity to train 30 NYC STEM public school teachers in the curriculum to bring to NYC classrooms in the fall; we worked with Harvard Medical School hosting workshops on the modern science of indigenous foods for Native American high school students and teachers; we worked with Harvard SEAS to use our curriculum in their weekly summer programming bringing cooking and science to underserved youth in Cambridge, MA, and much, much more. For the full story of our some of summer adventures, see https://youngchefsprogram.org/2015/08/05/a-summer-in-natures-farmacy-finding-new-connections-between-cooking-science-and-social-change/
We updated and refined our old lessons. After our extensive experiences teaching science and cooking this summer and working closely with diverse students and teachers, we have upgraded our lessons with new science standards, recipes, and demonstrations. For example, the density lesson has undergone a total makeover, whereas the steamed buns lesson has an improved experimental procedure and workflow. See for yourself, https://youngchefsprogram.org/curriculum/lesson-plans/
We added new general resources for educators. Our so-called master documents are updated with science standards grids, culinary skills grids, networks, and more. We also introduced a new feature: inviting educators to create their own lesson plans in the Young Chefs format. To find the template, go to https://youngchefsprogram.org/curriculum/get-started/ and email us your lesson when it’s done and we will review and publish it!
These are great times to be involved with cooking and science education. We are excited to share these new developments and expand our network of educators and organizations using cooking to combat inequalities in health and STEM education.