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You're the Chef Cooking Program

What is You’re the Chef?

You’re the Chef (YTC) is a cooking program that focuses on  increasing vegetable and fruit intake, and encourages lifelong healthy eating habits in young people. The goal of YTC is to help youth develop the skills and confidence to prepare healthy and tasty recipes. The program is based on recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide (CFG).

​Learning objectives

Upon completion of YTC (minimum of 4 sessions), participants will be able to:
  • Practice safe food-handling and basic kitchen safety
  • Prepare recipes featured in YTC sessions
  • Prepare a recipe at home using vegetables and fruit
  • Demonstrate knowledge about vegetables and fruit (i.e. identifying and naming, recommendations in the CFG, and ways to include them in meals and snacks)

​Benefits of developing food literacy

Food literacy is a set of interconnected skills and tools. These include food and nutrition knowledge, skills in food preparation, the confidence and self-efficiency to apply the knowledge and skills to influence dietary behaviour, and access to resources (i.e. adequate income, housing, food, equipment, learning opportunities, social support, and a healthy and sustainable food system). Food literacy is needed to prepare nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate meals.

Research has shown that young people who have developed food literacy and who cook regularly have a high self-confidence and a sense of pride. They are also exposed to a wider variety of foods, have a more varied and healthy diet, eat less fast food and are more willing to try new foods.

How YTC works

An adult volunteer from a school or community agency attends a half-day leader training session led by the Northwestern Health Unit. This leader works with the school or community agency to plan when, where and how YTC will run. Leaders receive a training manual with the instructions, resources and forms needed to run the program.

The YTC sessions are intended for groups of 12 to 16 participants so hands-on experience and proper supervision can be provided. Each session will take about 90 minutes. The sessions should be inclusive, interesting, and most of all, fun!

​Built in flexibility

The leader’s manual – received during training – has built-in flexibility. You can choose from a variety of sessions, recipes and even add additional activities or supporting resources to lead YTC sessions. In the Resource section of the manual, you will find customizable Word templates for various resources and communication tools (i.e. participant recruitment flyer, media release). Electronic versions of the resources are sent to all YTC leaders once they complete their training.

​You’re the Chef and Healthy Schools

Running YTC at your school will contribute to the creation of a healthy school and healthy school nutrition environment. A healthy nutrition environment exists when a school promotes healthy eating through words and actions. This means that the school delivers and models consistent and accurate messages about food, nutrition and healthy eating. Participating in YTC allows the students to practice what they are learning in the school curricula.

​Running You’re the Ch​ef

If you are a trained YTC leader and are planning to run YTC in your school or community please fill out a program information & order form to help us learn more about your needs.

​Need more information?

  • To learn more about YTC or how you can get trained and start running the program in your schools  or community, please contact please contact Chelsea Socholotuk at csocholotuk@nwhu.on.ca.
  • For more information about creating a healthy school nutrition environment, please visit our School Health section of the website.