Chef Emeril Lagasse and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation are proud to announce Cunningham Elementary School as its third school site of the recently launched Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen. Established by the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen is a nationwide education initiative created to enrich the lives of elementary and middle school children through a fun, fresh perspective on food.
“My wife Alden and I are excited to welcome Cunningham Elementary School to the growing network of schools implementing our Foundation’s signature program,” said Chef Emeril Lagasse. “Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen provides the resources, tools and knowledge to succeed in and beyond the classroom. We are thrilled to bring it to Texas, a place where our Foundation’s footprint has expanded to over the years and where we remain committed and invested.”
Cunningham Elementary is a pre-K through fifth grade public school within Austin Independent School District. Serving over 400 students with diverse backgrounds, the school’s mission is to educate and guide a community of successful lifelong learners with a global perspective on academic excellence, a healthy mind and body, and a creative passion as information leaders.
Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen at Cunningham Elementary School will represent the culmination of years of collaboration and partnership among the school’s educators, students, parents and community members, and serve as a beacon for innovation, healthy living and community connection in South Austin.
With a five-year grant from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Cunningham Elementary School will enhance its current gardening program and build a 1,500-square-foot teaching kitchen. In this space, students’ imaginations and minds will be activated when they interact with the food they have grown using the program’s curriculum which features more than 100 of Chef Emeril’s recipes modified for the classroom.
“This program goes beyond the classroom, expanding the education of our youth in a fun, relatable way,” said Brian Kish, president of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. “Our landmark program is designed to allow children from all walks of life to prepare for their futures and fully immerse themselves in nutrition and food education.”
Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen was first established at a school in Florida, with a second underway at a school in Louisiana. Other schools under consideration are in California, Nevada and Washington, D.C., with the goal of having the program operating in at least 10 schools by 2023.
Each participating school receives a five-year grant to assist with implementing the program, which includes a unique K-8 cooking and gardening curriculum aligned with national academic standards, small-ware cooking equipment provided by GoodCook and membership in a community of practice where teachers share and learn effective approaches to gardening and cooking instruction.