JOFR Group of the Week: LA Chefs & Pro's

JOFR Group Of The Week: LA Chefs & Pro's

Thu 23 Jun 2011

Story by The Food Revolution Team

Los Angeles Chefs & Professionals was one of our very first Food Revolution Community groups! Created by Chef Gino and Lisa Fontanesi this group aims to get food professionals who work with kids and families together and find ways to source funding, locations and groups to host these incredibly important cooking events.

Gino and Lisa share an enthusiasm for food and teaching kids how to cook, and both have plenty of experience in community cooking.

In 2005, Lisa founded Kidding Around The Kitchen (KATK) with the motto that ‘When kids cook it, they will eat it!’ KATK is a program that aims to educate students about cooking, nutrition and cultural diversity through its mission of teaching hands-on cooking to the kids of LA & through the use of multi ethnic recipes. The essence of the program is that when young people prepare the food; they’ll learn to enjoy it and through KATK classes, kids learn basic life lessons – how to cook for themselves and go on to make healthy choices throughout their lives.

KATK which is currently running in LAUSD public schools, charter schools, private schools and community centers, farmers markets and museums in and around LA. It incorporates the use of fresh fruits and vegetable and healthy sources of proteins to connect the students with an understanding of the sources of their nutrition and helps them to reflect on their current diets, and design new and healthier ones.

On the second Saturday of each month, Target Stores sponsor Family Free Days at the Japanese American National Museum, these days are completely free for all and each month Lisa teaches a Hands On Cooking lesson, where anywhere from 150-1000 kids and families attend the event. Lisa has also participated in the Chef’s Move to Schools program in LAUSD and through KATK has worked with 135 kids a week, providing Harvest of the Month to schools with a hands-on lesson featuring the fruit or veggie of the month.

Gino Campagna is an Italian chef living in Los Angeles who has dedicated his life to teaching children how to both appreciate and prepare great food and has been cooking with kids for over 12 years! Every month Gino hosts an event at the Whole Foods Market in Venice where he teaches kids how to create healthy homemade dishes – at the weekend he made fresh pasta from scratch especially for Father’s day. Each week he also hosts cooking parties for kids, teaches classes in a local vegetable plot for the Garden School Foundation and also teaches 75 kids each Monday as part of the Chefs Move to Schools program. Gino also hosts kitchenkids – cooking web episodes on and has held events getting kids cooking with Club Eatalian & Piccolo chef.

And it doesn’t stop there, Gino has recently been hosting salad bar events at a school in Santa Monica where he prepares two long tables full of fresh ingredients for the kids to make their own pasta, tomato & fruit salad, and with around 120 kids attending these have been a great success and last month did a great event for Club Eatalian!

Gino’s philosophy is to promote curiosity in the kitchen and infuse cooking with enthusiasm and fun, whilst most of the kids he teaches may not grow up to become professional chefs they will have the knowledge and experience to cook for themselves and their families. Gino’s motto is ‘If I can cook it… you can cook it!’

Lisa & Gino have brought together their enthusiasm, experiences and motto’s to create their Food Revolution Community group. Los Angeles Chef & Professionals aims to serve as a hub for chefs who want to do events and for event organizers who are looking for chefs, in order to bring about more community cooking events and teach children and adults alike how to cook and look after both themselves and their families through fresh, wholesome, homemade meals.

Check out their group here.

The Food Revolution Team


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