Cooking Matters is a program offering free, six-week-long series of cooking and nutrition classes to low-income families. Classes are taught by volunteer culinary and nutrition educators working in teams. We partner with host sites including clinics, shelters, housing sites, and after-school programs to offer courses in communities throughout the Bay Area. Volunteer for our program as a chef, nutritionist, or class assistant. Join us!
The Cooking Matters curriculum was created by Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. Nonprofits across the country use Cooking Matters to teach valuable skills in vulnerable communities.
Chef Job Description: During class, the chef will discuss topics such as food budgeting, planning meals, making healthy cooking choices, benefits of fruits and vegetables, healthy snacking, reading labels, and making better selections at the grocery store. The classes are intended to be highly participatory cooking demonstrations. It is important to keep the participants busy with various tasks and allow for hands-on learning in the kitchen. Some cooking skills to demonstrate and practice in class are basic cooking techniques and terminology, proper knife handling, various cooking methods, food safety and sanitation measures.
Nutrition Educator Job Description: As an educator, you must have a strong background in nutrition, food science, dietetics, or a related field. Important things to discuss include the food pyramid as a tool for healthy eating, planning balanced meals, benefits of fruits and vegetables, improving eating habits, cutting the fat, food budgeting, serving sizes, reading labels, and physical activity. The classes are intended to be interactive and the nutritionist will often act as a facilitator for the activities and visual aids that are provided. The nutritionist also serves as a positive role model by emphasizing the benefits of nutritious eating and motivating participants to improve their eating habits.
Class Assistant Job Description: Volunteer class assistants help instructors and facilitators with classroom set-up, food preparation, class activities and clean up. Other duties may include packing groceries for participants to take home, unloading and loading kitchen equipment, and washing dishes. Volunteers with an interest in cooking and/or nutrition are encouraged to apply for this position. Volunteer shoppers are also needed to help secure ingredients for each week's class.
Time Commitment: Classes meet once a week for six weeks depending on the curriculum. Classes are held anytime between 9:00 AM and 8:00 PM, every day of the week. Each week, the classes require a time commitment of two hours plus half an hour of prep time and a half an hour of clean up. In addition, communication with the Cooking Matters coordinator regarding class scheduling and the curriculum is necessary. Volunteers are encouraged to contribute to all facets of the class, including set-up, clean-up, and food preparation.