Caitlyn Cranwell has seen first-hand the difference the E4C Young Chef’s program, in partnership with ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen, makes in the lives of Edmonton’s youth. As an ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen (BFK) Community Educator, part of her job includes teaching basic kitchen and cooking skills to youth.
Basic kitchen and cooking skills are vital components for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That’s why the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen in Edmonton has partnered with E4C, a local non-profit that moves vulnerable people toward positive, healthy and lasting change, to run the Young Chefs program.
“By facilitating the Young Chefs program, we are giving directly back to the community where we live and work,” said Caitlyn. “Our focus has always been on the home and the family. With this program, we are helping provide the skills and confidence to feed a family.”
Since January 2015, BFK Community Educators have led the eight-week program, offered to at-risk-youth in grades 4-6, at 10 schools in the Edmonton area. It provides students with basic kitchen skills; food and kitchen safety and the importance of helping out in the kitchen. They are also taught two or three healthy, low-cost recipes each week, which are all prepared from scratch. They then get to eat the meals they’ve cooked with the rest of the class and clean up together.
Not only does the program help develop proper kitchen and cooking skills, but it also fosters confidence and teamwork for many of the students, some of whom are the primary cooks in their own homes.
“It’s a rewarding experience,” said Caitlyn. “Many of the children seem hesitant and unsure of themselves at first. By the end of the program, the children have blossomed, gained confidence and learned a lot about themselves.”
According to Cranwell, some of the children come with stories explaining how they tried the recipes at home or how they taught other family members to make the recipes. So far, approximately 120 students have participated in the program, with more programs planned to begin in the fall.
ATCO’s support for E4C goes far beyond just the Young Chefs program. Since 2010, employees and the company have donated more than $100,000 to the non-profit to support positive change in the lives of Edmontonians in need.
Community engagement remains a core value at ATCO and we continue to expand community outreach in universities, community kitchens, family resource centres and schools.
Watch students work together to create healthy meals as part of the Young Chefs program.
ATCO Group is a worldwide organization of companies engaged in Structures & Logistics, Utilities and Energy. More information about ATCO can be found on its website at www.atco.com.