Youth Zone after school program is, once again, broadening the horizons on young minds. Partnering with the Common Threads culinary program, Youth Zone is now introducing youth to cooking and preparing meals in new way. Lead by Chef Gina, of Common Threads, two youth cohorts (3rd- 5th and 6th -8th grades) are beginning to learn about the cultures and also healthy recipes from different regions around the world.
Each class, students learn interesting facts about a specific region; its culture, its people, and especially its favorite foods. After learning about the region, they begin a ‘hands-on’ culinary lesson on preparing a dish. Equipped with a creed that embodies open-mindedness and respect for others, Chef Gina helps participants understand that there is much more to be experienced in the world that most youth have not been exposed to. “…. Nothing is nasty, I just don’t like it…” is a line from the creed that helps them understand that different people have different taste in foods. Each student samples different fresh products within the recipe, where they have flexibility to add or omit some ingredients to make the dish a perfect recipe for them. Teamed with culinary volunteers from University of Chicago, the youth receive experiences from monitored usage of chef food preparation materials (i.e. Chef grade knives) to actually cooking their product for the entire class to taste! The end result of each day? Great food, new experiences, a learned skill and great smiles!
Youth Zone’s Common Threads Culinary program is held weekly at Brown school for 3rd-5th and 6th-8th graders.