Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight series
Name: The Teaching Kitchen at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
What they do: The Teaching Kitchen is a training and technical assistance program at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Their website states that their goal is, “to help nonprofit organizations to convert their food services to a farm-to-institution model by serving more fresh, healthy, culturally relevant, and locally sourced meals—without raising costs”. The Teaching Kitchen provides free customized training to institutions working to improve the quality of food they serve to clients.
How they do it: The Teaching Kitchen achieves this through a number of services. They share that the Teaching Kitchen, “led by Teaching Kitchen Chefs Evelyn Garcia and Seema Pai, provides tailored curriculum, goal setting, kitchen consultations, technical assistance, ongoing professional development workshops, recipes and web-based resources to help participants transform their food programs.” As of 2022, the Teaching Kitchen has taught more than 350 nonprofit staff that serve about 13 million meals annually.
Latest project/campaign: The Teaching Kitchen offers a free bilingual online version of their course available on their website. They are developing a collection of educational materials to support institutions in their transition to a farm-to-institution model. The team has recently been working with school districts across New York State to support their transition as institutional food standards increase statewide. They are currently working with 14 school districts in New York State. The Teaching Kitchen Chefs will attend the Culinary Institute of America’s menus of change summit and will be presenting to students as part of their orientation during the summit.
Major Funding: The Teaching Kitchen is funded through a combination of public and private support.
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: The Teaching Kitchen works to target a number of issues within the institutional food system. Their site shares that they:
- Improve the health of individuals that rely on government-funded meals for food security and nutrition by making those meals healthier — more fresh food, less frozen and processed food, more plant-based and vegetarian meals, more culturally relevant dishes, and more whole grains;
- Localize institutional food systems and strengthen regional farms, local food economies and environmental sustainability;
- Support the professional development of the next generation of institutional cooks and program staff to help them build a healthier, more sustainable and more equitable food system.
Location: 331 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021
Core Programs: Teaching Kitchen in-person, hybrid, and online year-long training programs; cooking demonstrations; resources for institutional kitchens; food policy advocacy; educational food media; panels & conferences, etc.
Number of staff: 4 (Director of Healthy Food Initiatives, 2 Teaching Kitchen Chefs, Communications Coordinator)
Number of volunteers: 2 Interns (Hunter College Public Health Scholar Intern, Institute of Culinary Education Intern)
Areas served: The Teaching Kitchen is free to most non-profit organizations that are interested in taking part of the course and also provides some fee based consulting services to interested organizations. With in-person, online, and hybrid training models, they are able to serve organizations inside and outside of New York City. The website lists the following requirements for participants:
- Nonprofit organizations serving government-funded meals that are cooked on-site, not catered
- Nonprofit food service program directors, chefs, managers and nutritionists and all those who design menus, order food supplies, provide oversight and prepare food
- Organizations who have a willingness to change their meal program to a farm-to-institution model!
Year Started: November 2015
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org; Evelyn Garcia (Teaching Kitchen Chef) email@example.com; Seema Pai (Teaching Kitchen Chef) firstname.lastname@example.org; Taylor Juleen (Communications Coordinator) email@example.com