Getting Teenagers Excited About Cooking

Getting Teenagers Excited About Cooking

Mon 26 Nov 2012

Story by Sarah Curl
 

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to step away from my desk and experience food education at itís finest.

Let me give you a little background. My full time job for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation is to manage and support our team of super volunteers, who we call our Ambassadors. Our Ambassadors are an amazing group of people who donate time to fight for real food around the world.

The Power of our Volunteers in Action!



When you spend a majority of your day behind a computer, you forget how amazing it is to see what we work towards in action. I get engrossed in the day-to-day communications with volunteers that I forget what itís like to be working in the schools, businesses, farms and on the ground. Ambassadors are out in their schools talking with teachers and administrators to fight for healthier choices, they are in their workplaces asking for more vegetables and less processed snacks and they are teaching kids the power of food education and food skills. I was able to see the power of our volunteers in action.

One of our amazing Ambassadors, Shane Valentine is located a few miles away in San Francisco, California. Shane works with the American Heart Association, Whole Foods and the Food Revolution to make change in childrenís lives. Shane is an author, activist, chef and dad among other things. For the past 8 weeks he has gotten up very early on Monday mornings to drive to a local high school to teach 16 year olds how to cook. I was able to make a trip out to the school on the last day of his cooking class. When I walked into the classroom, I was not expecting to see thirty-five 16 year olds at 8am working together to cook a special meal!

Engaged and Excited to Try Different Cooking Techniques



On this particular day, Shane was giving them a cooking challenge to use their skills they had learned over the past 8 week and create whatever they wanted within their bag of real food. All students were given a bag of ingredients to make tacos with different proteins. They had 20 minutes to work together in groups of 4-6 students and create they own versions of tacos. The results were amazing! Every student was engaged and so excited to try different cooking techniques. It was great to see and so inspiring.

Renewed Hope in Food Education and the Fight for Real Food!



To say the experience was amazing would be an understatement. It gave me renewed hope in peoples will to teach food education and fight for real food even when the odds are stacked against them. I am so glad I was able to see a group of students, whom 8 weeks earlier didnít know how to cut an onion, cooking steak and salmon to perfection. Also, I donít think I have seen a more excited group of teenagers ever.

Thank you to both Shane and Galileo High School for hosting me!
About the author: Sarah Curl is the Food Revolution Community Manager for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.

Twitter: @sarahanncurl

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