Mini Chefs Sharpen Culinary Skills After School

While sports, arts and science clubs are common extra curricular activities, students in Carrollton City Schools (Georgia) also get a chance to expand their knowledge and enjoyment of cooking through a new after-school Culinary Club!

Donning mini chef hats and aprons, students learn food safety, food preparation, cooking skills and meal presentation while creating a meal that they later get to enjoy together. The students’ favorite activities often involve incorporating different foods to “build” a meal, like fruit pizzas, layered parfaits and sandwiches. Fresh menu items from guacamole and hummus to cole slaw have been created by Culinary Club members.


“We wanted to do a club that would allow our students the opportunity to be creative with food, while presenting some basic nutrition information and also directing them back to our school nutrition program,” said Linette Dodson, PhD, RD, LD, SNS, FAND, the Director of School Nutrition for Carrollton City Schools. “We thought it would be a fun way to interact with our students and teach them basic culinary skills. We have had our FoodCorps service member and our elementary school manager lead the planned lessons.”

Safety culinary tools are provided to students who participate in the Culinary Club, including nylon knives and easy to use measuring spoons.

Students who participate in the club have become more receptive to trying different foods, according to Dodson. Due to an overwhelmingly positive response from students, the club was offered this past fall and this spring semester. As the Club gained in popularity, a wait list began prompting the creation of Culinary Club Camp being offered this summer!

During the school year, students in Culinary Club paid $30 toward aprons and club essentials ad supplies. The Culinary Club for summer camp will also charge a fee to cover the cost of food and supplies – students use safety utensils when cooking, including  nylon knives, plastic knives with serrated cutting edges, blunt tips and nonslip grips to make work in the kitchen a little easier and safer for children’s hands.

“We are planning four days of half-day sessions for the summer. There is a lot of interest from our current participants and their parents to have kids participate and we didn’t want to ask students to wait until next school year,” said Dodson. “We did do nutrition education last summer at some of our summer sites, but they weren’t culinary clubs – we are excited about this club’s growth in participants and look forward to this summer’s lessons.”unnamed-6


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