Food Culture Chefs Program

Food Culture Chefs is The Cookbook Project’s elementary school education program. This program has been tailored for a younger audiences in 3-5th grades, which corresponds to ages 8-11, although the content could be scaled up. All of our programs are based on the experiential education philosophy, which values creating an inclusive and varied learning experience that encourages participants to be open-minded.

Session Structure



Opening Circle 5 minutes Opening activity or interactive question and answer
Teacher Introduction 10 minutes Teacher will set the stage for the content with a question or example.
Content 40 minutes Main content or activity for the session.
Call to action 5 minutes Specific and measureable action items for students to ‘take home’ and consider until the next session.

Overall, the curriculum is really focused on giving young people a safe and supportive space for learning basic cooking skills, understanding nutrition through food culture, and figuring out how to read food labels. This curriculum really grew out of the observation we can learn a lot about nutrition and eating through traditional foods cultures. Cooking is also a basic life skill that everyone should have – unfortunately, with the rise of processed, packaged, and fast foods, a lot of people have lost the opportunity to learn this amazing art. Food culture chefs focuses on reclaiming traditional food culture and cooking in a fun and inviting context.

Curriculum Overview

Sessions Content
1 Pop if you like… Measure where you participants are at in terms of their understanding of food and nutrition
2 Taste Tour Learn about the major tastes.
3 Food Culture Recipes Explore the concept of food culture through favorite family recipes.
4 Sustainable Healthy Plate Understand what a balanced plate looks like and what to think about when making food choices.
5 Healthy Drinks Learn about hydration and healthy drink alternatives.
6 Fruits from Around the World Learn about the origins of different fruits and what they taste like, and their common health benefits.
7 Fruit Salad Chefs Gain basic skills in food preparation, including introductory knife skills with ‘kid safe’ knives.
8 Roots and Shoots Learn about healthy green leafy vegetables and delicious root vegetables and how to prepare simple salads with dressing.
9 Rice Rice Baby Understand the difference between whole grains and processed grains and try different types. Learn how a rice cooker works!
10 Bean the Change Learn about different types of beans and why they are a wonderful and healthy source of protein.
11 Protein Power Learn about different types of protein sources and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
12 Getting Scrappy Understand how to reduce food waste in the home and at school, and how to use scraps to make different dishes, including homemade vegetable stock.
13 Final Food Culture Celebration Celebrate preparing and enjoying a meal together inspired by food culture recipes from the start of the program.
14 Closing Ceremony & Certificates Measure how far the group has come through interactive games and conduct a closing ceremony with certificates.