Young Chefs Updates

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Pickles Made by students

by Emily Pence, co-founder and outreach coordinator, Young Chefs.

The Young Chefs Program: From Cooking to Science has taken many new directions since we last sent an update. We are delighted to share that our program keeps growing and growing. This email highlights some of our newest developments, including new curriculum, summer programming, the building of a garden in Northfield, MN, and ways for you to become involved in our initiative.

We developed new open-access lesson plans and resources expanding our open-access curriculum to 18 lessons, with more coming soon! 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)

Have a look for yourself, https://youngchefsprogram.org/curriculum/lesson-plans/. We also updated and refined our old lesson, and added new educator facing resources such as science standards grids, culinary skills grids, and networks.

We expanded our program to new locations… Our curriculum is now used regularly by educators all across the U.S, as well as locations in Canada, China, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. People are implementing our resources in science museums, classrooms, after school programs, summer camps and their own homes. We are very excited to continuously extend our network of educators and students involved in science and cooking education. Find a map of all our programs at https://youngchefsprogram.org/our-story/current-projects/

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 brought our curriculum to new communities and educators during the summer… Summer of 2015 was a busy time for us. In addition to the weekly summer programming in Northfield, MN, we have worked closely with Bill Yosses and had the opportunity to work with 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/

If you’re excited about The Young Chefs Program and want to get involved in the initiative… there are several ways you can partner with us

  1. Use our curriculum! We’d love for you to try out our lesson plans. Whether you want to try them out in your own kitchen, or a professional industrial kitchen, or a public school class room, lesson plans can be requested at https://youngchefsprogram.org/educators/request-lesson-plans/.
  2. Write your own lesson plan! We invite you to contribute your voice and creativity to our resources. To find the template, go tohttps://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. We remain deeply committed to making this creative approach to science and cooking healthy food to ALL young people.

Stay hungry!

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