A group of moms has been attending our community kitchens, honing their cooking skills, sharing recipes and expertise, increasing their confidence and their English language competence. A number of them now have very strong food skills.
Many expressed an interest in learning how to teach cooking – to better themselves, to boost their communication skills and to help others in Regent Park expand their skills.
We approached a corporate friend who graciously agreed to give us a small amount of funding so that we could take this to the next level with a pilot project we named Peer Chef.
Our Food Skills Coordinator, Emily, has been working with these women extensively over the last few months. In Peer Chef Phase One, the women came in for Train-the-Trainer sessions to learn best practices about how to lead a workshop. In Phase Two, each led a workshop with the other members of the group. Everyone developed leadership skills, was encouraged to take risks, and built their confidence.
On a bright May day, I was in our beautiful Rogers Family Room with the sun streaming in and the group had gathered to prepare for Phase Three. Their plan is for each to lead a workshop for a different group: one will teach children about cooking and nutrition; another will reach out to other moms in the community; another hopes to do a joint session with mothers and their children to make healthy cooking fun.
We know from experience that if you empower mothers and children on the food, health, and skills-building front, you can change a whole family and a community.
You increase their resilience.
By Claire Barcik, Executive Director