Many residents have emphasized the need for health and nutrition education in our community. Through focus groups, participant surveys and at our Shopping on a Budget Supermarket Tours residents have shared personal reasons why they don’t incorporate more healthy food into their diets, like ‘takes too long to prepare’ or ‘not knowing how to make healthy foods taste good’. These statements highlight a key fact: if community members do not possess knowledge of healthful foods or the skills to prepare them, improving access alone is not the answer.
Myrtle Eats Fresh Community Chefs are local residents who are passionate about sharing knowledge about healthy eating and living with their neighbors. The Community Chefs range in age from 26 to 70+, and combine experiences from professional cooking jobs and/or lifelong home-cooking. Through a series of training workshops, they solidify basic culinary skills and nutrition knowledge and develop an ability to share these skills with others. Upon successful completion of the course, we hire the Community Chefs to perform cooking demonstrations at neighborhood events featuring seasonal, healthy, and affordable recipes.
The first class of Myrtle Eats Fresh Community Chefs graduated in the spring of 2010. Tree Williams, founder of Livesip, delivered a comprehensive course on how to perform cooking demonstrations that focus on seasonal eating and cooking, basic nutrition, fruit and vegetable identification, recipe selection and creation, knife skills, and food storage and preparation. Currently there are 15 trained Myrtle Eats Fresh Community Chefs performing cooking demos and sharing recipes and knowledge about eating fresh with neighborhood residents.
- The “Myrtle Eats Fresh Community Cookbook”, published in 2013, is a collaborative effort highlighting the chefs’ seasonal recipes with sales going back to the program for additional training and paid demo opportunities. Buy your copy here.
- To date, Community Chefs have completed nearly 150 demos at local CSAs, the Myrtle Avenue Farm Stand, local farmer’s markets, emergency food pantries, community-based organizations and community events.
- Two Community Chefs have received their Food Handler’s Certification, furthering their entrepreneurship goals.
Read our Annual Report for more information about project activities and accomplishments. Contact Healthy Communities Initiative staff, for more information about this project or to request a Community Chef for your event.