Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Newest Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen Takes Root
Signature Program has impacted 5,393 Youth
Emeril Lagasse Foundation announces its newest school partner for Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen. Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School will become the seventh school to implement the Foundation’s signature program. Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen is a national education program that integrates culinary gardens and teaching kitchens in schools to create interactive learning environments centered on food.
“As we continue to bring our signature program to schools across the country, we are encouraged by the growing numbers of youth we are reaching,” said Chef Emeril Lagasse. “Preparing a meal, understanding where it comes from, and sharing it with others is an experience that grounds and connects us all. So far, we’re impacting more than 5,000 youth annually through this program.”
Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School is a Title I school located in an area with a high population density and a large number of households living below the poverty line. Its Seed to Table program currently aims to provide students with hands-on learning experiences in gardening, nutrition, cooking, environmental stewardship, and ecology. With the help of this grant, the school will reach more students and provide them with the necessary skills to become lifelong healthy eaters while also promoting environmental stewardship. The expansion will include formalizing and upgrading the school garden and significantly renovating kitchen facilities. An additional full-time educator will be hired to achieve these goals, and classroom teachers will collaborate to integrate kitchen and garden lessons into the school-wide academic curriculum.
School partners awarded an Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen grant receive a $500,000 capital and program grant, the Foundation’s unique curriculum, over 100 of Chef Emeril’s recipes modified for the classroom, gardening and cooking education best practices, necessary teaching materials including small-ware cooking equipment for student cooking classes, food supplies for nutrition-focused cooking lessons, and robust teacher training.
Last year, Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen provided 6,364 lessons on cooking, gardening, and nutrition to elementary and middle school students across the country. Additionally, 159 community and family events occurred nationwide at six school partner sites, benefiting more than 8,000 parents, teachers, and family members. Currently, six schools are successfully implementing the program: Belle Chasse Academy in Belle Chasse, Louisiana; Cunningham Elementary School in Austin, Texas; DC Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.; Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville, California; Dr. John Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy in New Orleans; and Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago.
Teachers report measurable impacts on the children enrolled in the program. Ninety-seven percent of teachers confirm an improvement in students’ knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating choices, 88% of teachers report an overall improvement in student academic performance, and 97% of teachers mark improved confidence, cooperation, creativity, and respect by students. Additionally, 94% of teachers agree the program has provided opportunities for students to connect with family and the community over food.
Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen helps fulfill the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s mission to create opportunities to inspire, mentor, and enable youth to reach their full potential. The Foundation aims to continue expanding the program over the next few years so that more children have access to cooking and gardening education in schools. To learn more about the program visit emeril.org.
About Emeril Lagasse Foundation: Founded in 2002 by Chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden, Emeril Lagasse Foundation is a 501c(3) public charity headquartered in New Orleans. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities to inspire, mentor, and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition, and arts education with a focus on life skills development. Since its inception, Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted more than $20 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition, and arts programs. The Foundation accomplishes this through three programs. The Community Grants program provides programmatic and capital support to nonprofit organizations across the nation. The signature program, Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen, is a national education initiative created to enrich the lives of elementary and middle school children through a fun, fresh perspective on food. The Aarón Sánchez Impact Fund, the newest program, provides culinary arts education and human services programming for Latino youth. To learn more about the foundation and its beneficiaries, visit Emeril.org or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.