NGI’s commitment to healthy eating extends beyond the classroom to the surrounding community. One of the ways we connect with New Yorkers is by conducting weekly cooking demonstrations at the famous Union Square Greenmarket from May through November. Each week, different fruits and vegetables are featured as our Chef’s Training graduates and students teach shoppers how to prepare farm-fresh, local produce. We also educate the public about the value and preparation of fresh fruits and vegetables by doing monthly food demonstrations at the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn. They are conducted by Sue Baldassano, Director of Education, assisted by our students.
Another connection to community is through our school’s participation in the City Harvest Operation Frontline Program offered in partnership with Share our Strength, the leading anti-hunger organization in the U.S. Several of our students and graduates have taught the program’s 6-session cooking classes focusing on nutrition education for low-income families. In addition, we support S.O.S.’s “Taste of the Nation” yearly fundraising event, held in over 50 cities each Spring.
Several of our graduates have become “Food Educators” for Just Food’s Community Food Education Program. This New York-based non-profit organization trains individuals to teach others how to prepare nutritious meals featuring fresh, local produce through cooking demonstrations and canning and pickling workshops. Elizabeth Johnson, another Natural Gourmet graduate, is the program coordinator for this life-enriching program that pairs Food Educators with Farmer’s Markets and Community Supported Agriculture sites.
In 2003, The Natural Gourmet developed the curriculum for a 34-week culinary program taught by our graduates for Pathways to Development, an innovative developmental program for foster kids. Using nutritious, wholesome ingredients, the classes were designed to teach kitchen basics such as knife skills and sanitation as well as cooking techniques to unwed, pregnant teens and unwed mothers living in foster care at New York City’s Inwood House.
We were pleased to participate in Jack LaLanne’s “War on Child Obesity” event, held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on October 29th, 2005. Led by Sue Baldassano, Natural Gourmet students conducted an all-day demonstration featuring healthy, easy and fun-to- prepare snacks based on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In the same vein, under the direction of Sue Baldassano, our students conducted an all-day, hands-on workshop with groups of children at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, on May 14, 2005. Each child had the opportunity to prepare healthy snacks and breakfast foods under the guidance of our student chefs.
In 2006, the Natural Gourmet collaborated with Dr. Mehmet Oz, to educate public school students about healthy cooking and eating in a program he founded, called Health Corps. Two of our Chef Training Program graduates, Elizabeth Johnson and Ludie Minaya were the cooking instructors. Dr. Oz is an internationally renowned cardiologist who is professor and vice-chairmen of surgery at Columbia University. He is also medical director of the Integrated Medicine Center and director of the Heart Institute, New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center.
Read about Natural Gourmet Institute in the news: Medicine Meets Nutrition In Harlem (PDF)
NGI teachers, students and grads share their experiences working in kitchens, running food tours and discussing food issues.
The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts has collected a comprehensive list of food- and health-related resources to spread the good word...
The Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health offers classes with varying levels of participation in an intimate setting...
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