Program Goals


  • HEALTHY COOKING & EATING HABITS                 

Real-Life Meal Preparation: Participants hone their cooking skills in real-life real-time situations as they operate the kitchen as “their restaurant” for the session and are responsible for all aspects of daily meal preparations. Participants are assigned to work as crews, sharing rotating responsibilities for everything from meal planning, budget management, and prep cooking to table setting, service, and sanitation.

Real-Life Leadership & Teamwork: Participants take turns acting as the Head Chef for their kitchen crew, and face the responsibilities and challenges of leadership in the kitchen. While the leadership abilities of the chef play a pivotal role in dictating a kitchen’s success, equally important is how well the team functions – as teamwork is the backbone to any successful kitchen. Working in a kitchen requires constant face-to-face personal interactions, where knowing how to get along with others, cooperation, how to develop relationships and work closely with others is critical to the success of the team.

Teamwork = Critical 21st Century Skills: Teambuilding and working together as a team teaches campers how to develop relationships, how to work together, and problem solving skills  – which are skills not only key to success in a kitchen but also to success in life. Success in a kitchen depends on how well the entire team works together. At Chef Camp we utilize intentional teambuilding, and each camper participates in facilitated teambuilding activities throughout their stay. The small group “team” (and teambuilding) is an integral part of the camp program AND the camp culture. While at camp, each camper has opportunities to learn and practice behaviors that are designed to increase their ability to build relationships with others.

Real-Life Application of Academic Skills Learned In School: There are many academic skills utilized on a regular basis in the cooking, including reading with comprehension (following recipes, cooking methods, etc.) math skills (measuring, figuring out quantities, food weights, temperatures, conversions, cooking times, etc.) and applied science concepts. The daily exposure to these concepts in a very user-friendly hands-on way serves to strengthen skills, including for youth who may struggle in a “traditional” learning environment.

Career Exploration: In our work with various Chefs and operators, teens will get a chance to explore various aspects of the local food industry. Field trips will vary by session and may include such activities as enjoying meals or tasting menus, behind-the-scenes tours, hands-on cooking lessons, restaurant management topics, shadowing staff, and getting career advice.

Sustainable Sourcing & Farm-To-Table: Understanding the connections between cooking & eating experiences with the growing & sourcing of foods is a critical aspect to being a chef.  Field trips will also include exploring local restaurants and markets and participating in educational activities on topics such as seasonal foods, organic farming, and sustainable food production. Our aspiring chefs will learn about where their food comes from and the numerous advantages of locally sourced meats & seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, and usage of natural, unprocessed ingredients.

Seafood & Local Cuisines: The unique Atlantic coast ecosystem contributes to one of the most diverse, year-round selections of fish and shellfish available. There  is also a major economic impact to the local region. Working with locally caught seafood in season, participants will learn various preparation methods.

Community Service: Each session, youth will participate in one short-term food-related community service project. This is intended as an opportunity to give to others in a meaningful way, encourage personal growth, and gain awareness of various food-related social issues.

Kitchen Skills:

  • Kitchen safety, kitchen hygiene, and sanitary safe food handling
  • Preparation techniques- proper knife skills, chopping, mashing, grating, etc.
  • Cooking Methods
  • Baking Techniques
  • Presentation
  • Table Setting, serving, etiquette
  • Healthy eating, nutrition, menu planning
  • Food selection, sustainable produce
  • Foundations: Terms, techniques and core skills required of all chefs, such as following a recipe, how to weigh and measure ingredients, how the chemistry of foods interact, imparting flavors, etc.)