...The Warm & Fuzzy Stuff

We Teach Life Skills

Chef Camp is a fusion of culinary education with real life-skills development. At our core, Chef Camp is first and foremost a youth development program and is about transforming the lives of youth through the camp experience. So, unlike a cooking school, we are striving to develop the whole person, not “just” their culinary skills. While the culinary activities are an important high quality part of the program, we further use cooking as a tool in teaching skills that teens will use long after their session of camp is over. For example, in addition to learning how to cook, teens learn skills that they will use for life, such as how to get along with others, how to take responsibly for ones actions, decision making, building independence, cooperation, respect for self and others and meeting the challenges of working in a group.

We Are Intentional in Building A Community Where Each Teen Is Valued

Chef Camp is a small group enrollment program. Our small size enhances the quality of programming, as well as allows us to meet the needs of teens in an individual way- with a high ratio of staff-to-participants providing the personal attention for teen-chefs in building culinary confidence and learning new skills. 

Our small size also allows us to be intentional in building a community where teens share key experiences, are involved socially, intellectually, and emotionally, and quickly bond to become a close knit group. We create an atmosphere where each teen can develop a strong sense of belonging, feels valued by a community that cares about each another, and that each camper is treated and accepted as an individual - and that teens learn to accept and appreciate differences in others.

We Are A Non-Competitive Instructional Environment

We are an instructional and life-skills building program. Educational research shows most people don’t learn well in a competitive setting-especially kids and teens. The nature of traditional competition is that one can succeed only if all of the others fail - And failure isn’t what we are striving for at camp…. As the results of traditional competition are counterproductive to our desire to create a community where teens develop healthy self-esteem, feel accepted, connected, and emotionally secure, we believe that, while competition is a necessary and inevitable part of life, at camp we can manage competition in a way that counterbalances the elements of failure.

Nobody Fails Or Loses At Camp!

Activities are conducted where teens are given freedom to try and learn without worrying about failure. There are no grades, no evaluations, and no comparing to someone else’s achievements. This is a chance to learn, explore, grow, challenge oneself- and have fun! Every one of our teen chefs comes in to the program knowing different things, with different prior culinary experiences, and with different expectations for learning. We believe that teen-chefs can have success without struggling against each other, creating enemies, or destroying their self-esteem. Campers are encouraged to “compete” with themselves; to improve their own skills and judge their own performance on their own progress, rather than judging their performance by comparing their skills to others. Our goal is to provide opportunities for every participant to experience individual success while at camp.

Further, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how well the meal went or if the cake didn’t rise…What matters is how that teen feels about themselves as a result of the experience. We create an environment that supports emotional well-being of each participant, and ensure that campers are connected, accepted, and that no one is isolated.