HOL cooks up delicious educational experience for Dundas County youth

Above, McKenzie Johnson (left), Mathew Johnson, Bev Johnson, Kenny Donovan, Amelia Jorgensen, Rolan Jorgensen, Cole Jones and Jake were clearly enjoying themselves in the Food Explorers kitchen at Winchester United Church. Courtesy photo

MOUNTAIN — “I loved cooking and I loved eating. I definitely loved all of it,” said one Dundas County Youth following the completion of a seven-week cooking course.

House of Lazarus, in partnership with Glengarry Inter-Agency Group’s Dundas Youth Centre, recently hosted Food Explorers, a food preparation course for youth. The program was made possible by a $2,735 grant from The Hershey Company through Food Banks Canada. In addition to funding course supplies, the grant covered the purchase of blenders, food processors, and other cooking tools for the local youth centre.

Eleven youth between the ages of 9 and 12 participated in the seven two-hour weekly sessions, which were held at Winchester United Church. Each week, students received take home pages with recipes, cooking tips, and safety how-to information. The program goals included learning to follow a recipe, learning to safely use basic kitchen equipment and tools, exploring a variety of foods, learning how food affects the human body, and discovering individual food preferences.

Above, The Food Explorers culminating activity saw students prepare complete lasagna meals for their families at Winchester United Church. Courtesy photo

“It was fun because I got to learn a lot of new things and eat great food,” said participant, Kenadie. “I learned a lot.”

The culminating exercise saw each participant prepare a full lasagna meal for their family, complete with Caesar salad and garlic buns. In addition to a massive multi-family meal, this final event saw each student take home their own graduating gift of cooking utensils.

One parent had the following to say about the experience: “Thank you for running such a fun and useful program. My kids really enjoyed the grown-up feel and independence. Thanks again for all your hard work.”

With all spots filled within hours and a waiting list to boot, Food Explorers showed a clear need for youth-focused cooking education opportunities.

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