Teaching at Take Back the Kitchen
Take Back the Kitchen is a culinary arts and health education program that began at the Haley House Bakery Cafe in 2007. Our mission is to empower our students with hands on culinary skills and health education to make the healthful, sustainable food decisions that combat growing health disparities in our community. I am the executive Chef of Take Back the Kitchen for youth 8-18 in Roxbury/Dorchester.
I teach the youth how to cook and also how to navigate through our food system – informing them of the hazards of fast food and processed foods, too often filled with sugar, salt, refined carbs, and fat which later lead to serious health complications. We teach in conjunction with the Boston Police through a school-based gang-resistance program as well as many other community-based programs.
Our philosophy is simple:
LEARN TO COOK.
PASS IT ON.
The major themes of our lessons can be summed up with these principles:
- the best diet is education
- cook at home
- rule of 1900/don’t eat food your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize
- diets don’t work
- eat your veggies
- as long as you’re eating well most of the time, it’s okay to eat “treat” foods sometimes.
- food should be fun…eat with others!
- eat real food/know your ingredients/read your labels
- eat a rainbow every day
- drink more water, drink less soda
- challenge yourself: the more you try, the more you’ll like!