Program links top chef with kids eager to learn to cook

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As we shine a light on hunger this holiday season, there is a program that links one of the city's top chefs to communities in need. (WPVI)

Philadelphia is ranked among the top ten cities in the nation for foodies, but it's also one of the poorest big city in America. As we shine a light on hunger this holiday season, there is a program that links one of the city's top chefs to communities in need.

The Vetri Foundation for Children, created by renowned chef Marc Vetri, has a number of programs designed to teach kids the importance of healthy eating.

One is called My Daughter's Kitchen. It is an after school cooking class for 10 and 11-year-olds. The program runs 8 weeks, and each week the student chefs learn how to prepare a healthy meal for six for under $20.

Maureen Fitzgerald, Food Editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and founder of My Daughter's Kitchen, explains to us, "The whole goal is that they will take these recipes and the skills that they've learned and reproduce them at home."

And in cooking students practice everything from measuring with fractions to knife skills.

Fitzgerald says My Daughter's Kitchen was initially intended as a single column. But it was such a hit with readers, she went to the Vetri Foundation for help sustaining and growing the idea.

The program is now in 25 schools in low income neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Camden, and every semester the Vetri Foundation expands to five more schools.

Kelly Herrenkohl is the Executive Director of the Vetri Foundation for Children. She tells us, "One of the great things about it is it's volunteer run."

Fitzgerald adds, "And we have no shortage of volunteers. I get emails just about every day saying 'I want to be a part of this program.'"

Shop Rite donates the food in Camden. Reader donations and grants pay for the provisions in Philadelphia.

Each class ends with a family style meal where bellies are filled and minds often opened. And when the semester is over, students get a cookbook to take home.

Mahaaj Jones, a fifth grader at Wiggins Prep Elementary School, says, "When I get home, I'm going to tell my mom that she's in second place now because I'm in first. I'm the best cook."

As the holiday season approaches, 6abc is again teaming up to help feed our neighbors in need. For more information on how you can connect, share and give, visit our 6abc Holiday Food Drive page.

Related Topics:
food6abc holiday food drivephilly newscharityfood6abc CommunityCenter City Philadelphia
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