The Vetri Cooking Lab classes take place every Thursday at Martha’s Table. Each week, around 15 4th-6th graders learn how to make infused water, smoothies, pancakes, and much more.
John Cahill, instructor at Martha’s Table, said: “I like to compare cooking to painting. There is a visceral joy and beauty in creating good food. Students get to experience a real practical sense of accomplishment. The spark I see in the kids at the Vetri Cooking lab, some of whom have been coming to Martha’s Table since they were very young children, is incredible. It’s exciting to see them get excited about learning about and preparing healthy foods. Haley [VCP’s instructor] is great at engaging the students. She brings an energy to the class that really piques their interests – even after a long day at school.”
Join us at the Clark Park farmers’ market from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the upcoming Saturdays:
In addition to the Mobile Teaching Kitchen‘s hands-on cooking demonstration, The Food Trust will be holding their Learn and Earn Market Walks. Starting at 11:30 a.m., participants have the opportunity to learn more about the farmers market and stretching their food budget with Philly Food Bucks. All participants will earn $6 in Philly Food Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at the end of the walk.
If you’re interested in signing up for the Market Walk, contact Meghan Filoromo at email@example.com.
A extended version of the article was also posted online:
We love getting feedback from the students and families who participate in our programs.
All of our programs strive to give kids the knowledge they need to be educated food consumers who can make decisions about their own health, so we couldn’t be more excited by this note from a mother of a student who participated in Vetri Cooking Lab at CHOP’s Healthy Weight Clinic:
I am blown away by how much she has taken in. She decided to make popcorn as a healthy snack, with no butter and adding garlic powder, Parmesan cheese or any other seasonings she feels like. This last class was the flat bread and dips, which were all delicious. In the car on the way home, [Name retracted] announced to me that the ranch dressing I have been putting in her lunch with her veggies is not very good for her — that we should make our own. I asked “How? Do I use sour cream?” She told me no, just get some Greek yogurt, dill, scallions and maybe some garlic powder and mix it together. She would like me to make this for her lunch snack instead of the kind I buy at the store.
I feel like having these really fun teachers in a kitchen with a bunch of kids has really empowered her to make smart choices on her own. [It’s] not her Mom telling her something is better for her — she is now telling me what is better. It has made making these choices not something she has to do, but something she wants to do. She wants to eat food that she knows what all the ingredients are, not stuff with words she cannot read in it and the stuff she has been making is so much tastier!! The teachers have done a great job!! We really appreciate having this opportunity!
We look forward to helping more kids, not only eat healthier today, but also go on to become healthy and empowered adults who can pass nutritional eating habits on to their own children!
Here at Vetri Community Partnership, our culinary program staff is made up of trained chefs whose culinary backgrounds have prepared them to be simultaneously creative and cost-efficient – two skills necessary in school cafeterias and in developing affordable, healthy cooking programs.
From coming up with and testing all of the recipes used in our programs to supporting the schools and students we serve, we couldn’t do the work we do without the passion and dedication of our culinary team.
Before I came to VCP, I was a brand-new mom, working for Corporate and realizing that it DID NOT suit me
My favorite vegetable: I love raw veggies, and have been known to just eat crudites for lunch regularly! But I absolutely love spicy, garlicky braised collard greens with hearty splash of apple cider vinegar to finish. Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts roasted dark. And mushrooms sauteed with garlic, butter and Worcestershire!
Tip for cooking with and feeding kids: Get the kids hands-on as much as possible. Will it be messy? Probably. Will they have fun? Definitely. But so will the adults. Kids are more likely to try things – from raw state to cooked – if they are involved in the preparation and if you are as well. Also, trust them with a task, whether it is peeling, grating, or knife-work even if it seems scary to you.
Before I came to VCP, I was a line cook, a stay-at-home mom and a dog walker.
My favorite vegetable: Brussels sprouts! Oh, and cauliflower. And kale. All things cruciferous, I guess. I pan sear them with oil, salt and pepper until they’re almost burnt.
Tip for cooking with and feeding kids: Listen to kids as intently as you would listen to adults – they have some crazy and awesome ideas. Regard cooking and eating an act of joy and love instead of a chore and a battlefield. And model good behavior – be the eater that you want your kid to be.
Before I came to VCP, I was a young woman right out of college in the professional restaurant industry seeking out the next best taste, experience, and position on the line.
My favorite vegetable: I love adding greens to everything I cook whether it’s wilting spinach or arugula with some roasted vegetables or braising them down with a fried egg on top.
Tip for cooking with and feeding kids: Wear your patience pants and remind them to as well. It’s easy to try to commit to set boundaries, but going in with an open mind is the best thing you can do!
Before I came to VCP, I was a working mom and a sous chef at a small, farm to table catering company in University City.
My favorite vegetable: My two favorite veggies (because I can’t pick just one) are asparagus and sweet potatoes. With asparagus, I do a very quick blanch and then quickly saute on very high heat with sea salt, pepper, minced garlic and olive oil. With sweet potatoes, I like to bake them until fully soft and beyond, because then they get a little caramelized, and then cut open and top with cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, organic honey and a sprinkle of dark brown sugar.
Tip for cooking with and feeding kids: Making foods that can be presented in a fun fashion works best in my home. For example, “ants on a log” and “funny faces” made out of crudites are big hits with my (very fickle) youngest daughter. Also anything that can be dipped into dressing or hummus always works wonders, because kids just love to dip things. When all else fails, I sneak things in. Blending up veggies and incorporating them into things like spaghetti sauce is a good way of getting a child to like something without them initially knowing it. I’m able to later explain to them how they do actually like carrots, they just didn’t realize it.
Before I came to VCP, I was much more of a wanderer. I’ve always worked with food and always loved it – but I’ve never felt so full of intention as I have since joining the team here.
My favorite vegetable: Fennel – roasted or raw. I serve it with lots of herbs, lemon and stronger flavors like lamb.
Tip for cooking with and feeding kids: Leading a kitchen full of kids is no different than leading a group of adults. Leave time for questions, never underestimate the power of imagination and always keep some cut resistant gloves handy.
Happy Holidays from Vetri Community Partnership!
Watch our recap video to see what we’ve been able to accomplish with your help. We couldn’t do it without you!
“I can’t believe we aren’t teaching what used to be called ‘home ec’ to every kid in America today.
They’re not only making chicken chili, corn cakes, and kale salad with lemon vinaigrette. They’re learning science, technology, engineering, and math; how to listen to each other; how to inform their opinions and share them respectfully; how to make smart choices for their health; and the unwavering importance of etiquette, manners and the joy of eating with others.
If there was a Vetri Community Partnership Vetri Cooking Lab in every school, our kids’ futures would be even brighter.”
– Tara Mataraza-Desmond, Vetri Cooking Lab Instructor
A healthy mind is key to healthy living so nourish that mind by watching some of these informative food-related documentaries! Learn more about the food industry, nutrition and school lunch reform through our selections:
– Amy Peters & Bruce Morgan