“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It's about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity,” Guy Fieri, chef, restaurateur and TV personality.
The Payne Family Branch is taking Fieri’s quote very seriously, as they have embarked on a tremendous healthy lifestyles program with their “Successful Garden To Table Cooking” class. New Branch Manager Sommer Cartier is spearheading the program, which is teaching members about growing and cooking healthy foods. “Healthy living is a passion of mine and now I have the chance to help teach children how to eat better and have a healthy life,” stated Cartier.
She is utilizing all of her resources to make the program a success. Sommer has teamed up with her good friends Chef Jack Mancino and SPARK, Friends of the BGCGSD member Jen Hart. Both are truly engaged in supporting the program and providing their knowledge and expertise.
Each weekly class features 15 members picking from the garden and using other healthy foods in preparation for cooking a healthy meal. Members, who are excited about the classes, are exposed to many new foods each week. “I never knew that there were so many different types of vegetables in the world,” said Club member Ricardo. He continued, “I am learning the best way to cook and eat. This is my favorite thing to do at the Club.”
During a recent class, kids learned the proper way to cut food with their kid-friendly knives. They made healthy tacos filled with ground turkey, roasted sweet potatoes, lettuce, and radishes, topped with a cilantro lime yogurt sauce.
With the support of the community, the program will continue to grow. Donations of gently-used cooking equipment have been coming to the Club and interest from local chefs and foodies to teach a class is increasing. If you would like to help the program, please contact Sommer at SCartier@SDYouth.org.