It’s exciting to see any group of individuals get enthusiastic about cooking healthy food.
The Seniors Community Kitchen, which occurred over the summer, brought together a group of talented and curious individuals for a ten week program.
Each week had a different theme. And at each session participants learned and shared about nutrition.
Every other week an individual from the group was the ‘guest chef’ and cooked something they were comfortable making. Some dishes included curry, dhal, or Chinese dumplings, and one was Ethiopian. It was an opportunity for the ‘guest chef’ to show their skills and share their knowledge, allowing others in the groups to learn about spices and cooking techniques from other countries.
The other weeks were focused on cooking healthy, low cost, delicious food, and would include a short discussion on nutrition. Attendance varied from 8 people in the beginning to 21 people for our final session!
In a post program survey, program participants indicated they now feel more comfortable cooking and that they would like to have more classes.
One person stated that, “I cook more now at home as I want my friends to have a taste of the cooking that we do in class.”
Another important aspect of the community kitchens is the opportunity to create new relationships and build stronger community.
During the ten weeks of working and learning together, the participants felt really connected to each other. Jean, a program participant, believes the kitchen has served as an important link between seniors and the community.
Emily McKenzie, who facilitated the community kitchen, felt it was a great experience for all who participated.
“The seniors were able to take charge and direct the program. It was designed based on their interests, and only possible through their willingness to share their knowledge. It offered an opportunity for individuals to express and share a part of their culture, as well as create new links in the community. And people learned how to incorporate healthier cooking methods into their daily life.”
“It was amazing for me to be part of this process and to learn from the skills each individual brought to the table”.
The next Seniors Community Kitchen begins on September 12, from 3 to 6 pm.