Eating right is easier when you know how to create delicious, healthful meals. That’s some of the thinking behind Teen Battle Chef, a culinary arts and nutrition education program.
As part of TIIH’s BMore BWell community initiative, two Baltimore high schools participated in Teen Battle Chef this spring. Under the tutelage of trained mentors, whom TIIH introduced in the schools last fall, students honed culinary, teamwork and leadership skills as they learned to prepare recipes that reflect diverse cultures.
The teens put their abilities to the test in May, when student teams from Delaware and Washington, D.C. schools joined them in Baltimore for the Teen Battle Chef Showdown, a fun-spirited competition held in the culinary labs at Stratford University.
Teams had 90 minutes to prepare healthful dishes incorporating the colors of the Mexican flag in honor of Cinco de Mayo. A panel of judges, including professional chefs, rated students on knife skills, food safety, organization, entertainment value, taste and presentation.
“Teen Battle Chef, yes it’s about culinary skills . . . but we show students the deeper purpose,” said Tenaj Ferguson, who coached the team from Baltimore Freedom Academy and helped organize the competition. “You all are leaders,” Ferguson tells students, “You’re moving from a place of being a follower . . . to being able to lead someone else.”
TIIH’s BMore BWell initiative introduced trained peer mentors in Baltimore schools through its partnership with HealthCorps®, a non-profit organization co-founded by world-renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa Oz. Teen Battle Chef, part of the HealthCorps curriculum, was developed by FamilyCook Productions founder and author Lynn Fredericks.