Everyday Chef is an effective and inclusive cooking and nutrition education program that meets participants where they are to improve knowledge, skills, and confidence in the kitchen while nurturing a love for healthful food from our neighbor farmers. The success of Everyday Chef has several ingredients: a highly mobile workshop, a flexible and creative curriculum, and strong demand from partner organizations.
In its most popular manifestation, Everyday Chef is an one-hour, hands on cooking experience for 5-15 participants at a location familiar to them and with equipment accessible to them, whether it be a home kitchen, the backyard grill, or a motel microwave. The Everyday Chef coordinator and educator Grace Davy welcomes and introduces participants to the ingredients, utensils, and cooking space.
After reviewing the recipe and a knife safety skills demo, participants take ownership of the creation of their food. Participants are encouraged to experiment, ask questions, and have fun while they taste new ingredients and try new skills. At the end of the workshop, participants can sink their teeth into the final product and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
In addition to workshops, Everyday Chef has a monthly show on PEGTV to showcase local farmers preparing their own produce, serving the dual purpose of creating connections between farmers and potential customers and laying seeds in the viewer’s brain to create and enjoy delicious food by buying local ingredients and supporting their neighbors.
Over the past year, Everyday Chef has collaborated with a diverse array of organizations, from Serenity House and Evergreen Mental Health Services to local primary and middle schools to the City of Rutland to the Community College of Vermont. During 71 workshops hosted by partnering organizations, 1,035 Rutland County residents learned how to enjoy turning local produce and healthy ingredients into delicious meals.
With the dissolution of its parent organization, Everyday Chef has found a home with one of its collaborators. NeighborWorks has been collaborating with Everyday Chef on its Youth Employment Initiative, a start-up that offers supportive entry-level positions to teens from Northwest Rutland while teaching them marketable culinary and business skills.
At home with NeighborWorks, Everyday Chef is looking to sustain its existing partnerships and grow its programming to meet the demand. NeighborWorks understands the huge potential of Everyday Chef to both increase the health of Rutland County residents and to support local farmers and businesses.
With funding, the existing partnerships will be continued and new partnerships formed. Everyone in Rutland County will be buying local veggies and cooking delicious and healthy home meals with the continued funding of Everyday Chef!