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).
Upon completion of YTC (minimum of 4 sessions), participants will be
1. Practice safe food-handling and basic kitchen safety
2. Prepare recipes featured in YTC sessions
3. Prepare a recipe at home using vegetables and fruit
4. 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
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
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 Chef
(Note: Program is scheduled to launch in September 2017)
If you are a trained YTC leader and are planning to run YTC in your
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
- For more information about creating a healthy school nutrition