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"Cooking has always been a passion of mine. At age 5, I was already 'Queen of the Kitchen,’ forming innovative combinations that the world had never seen before: chicken marinated in home-made applesauce, pizza topped with chocolate chips and broccoli, and brownies studded with tootsie rolls. I was more than just a chef in the kitchen; I was an inventor in the laboratory.
My freshman year of high school, I channeled my childhood culinary fervor and started a cooking club. Field trips, classes, potlucks, recipe exchanges - we did it all. By my senior year, the program had become one of the most popular clubs in the school.
Arriving at UC Berkeley the following year, I was eager to get involved in the culinary community. After all, Berkeley was supposed to be a culinary mecca of sorts. Wasn’t there a woman named Alice Waters that made vegetables taste like vegetables and fruits taste like fruits? To my astonishment, however, I discovered that the campus didn’t even have a cooking club! I went to work, and by the end of my freshman year, I had launched the Cal Cooking Club. The idea took off! Today there are over 600 members of the Cal Cooking Club, making it one of the top 5 largest clubs on campus.
Drawing on the success of the culinary clubs, I spent my sophomore year at Cal refocusing my energy towards children. As I learned more and more about obesity and eating-related health issues, I realized that the root of the problem lies in the educational system. Kids aren’t learning how to eat balanced meals or lead healthy lifestyles. As a result, they are growing up to perpetuate a cycle of poor health and, not to mention, unsustainable farming practices. I knew that if we focus on our youth, and teach them how to cook, we can solve these issues. Taking action was simple; I organized classes where kids cooked with real chefs in real restaurants with real foods. Since then, my stint working at the Chez Panisse foundation and the support I received from the community allowed me to create Sprouts Cooking Club - an official 501c3 non-profit organization. We are proud to have been teaching kids how to cook since 2006."
We strive to teach Bay-Area children of all socio-economic backgrounds how to cook, hands-on, with real chefs, using real ingredients, in real restaurants whenever possible. We keep cooking real.
- Dayton Pickering
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