The Young Chefs program is the creation of culinary nutrition educator Sheila Crye.
Funded by generous grants from the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families and contracts from the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, this school year Sheila directs 22 nine-week after-school cooking programs, each with a capacity of 15-20 participants, created especially for at-risk middle school youth. Young Chefs is one among an array of after-school activities offered through an umbrella program called Excel Beyond the Bell.
Young people attend two-hour sessions with Sheila and her team each week, planning and preparing a meal balanced according to the “My Plate” USDA guidelines.
Since education works best when youth have a say, the young chefs set up ground rules for the class and choose the dishes they want to learn to make, all inspired by their own personal preferences and family food traditions.