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2018 marks Fresh Chefs Society’s sixth year of empowering youth through food. We’ve learned so much about what is truly needed and wanted by our youth. All of our programs offer a new way of connecting community to youth through food and creating experiences that enrich their lives, enhance their connection to food and give them important life skills.

As an organization, Fresh Chefs sat down with foster advocates, case workers, therapists, administrators, and current and former foster care youth to make sure our programs respond to real needs. We also reached out to the vibrant Austin food community to offer them a way to give back, share their love of and personal journey with food, and inspire a new generation of food lovers. We wanted to create positive experiences around food for youth in foster care.

iCook Education:: The iCook Education program aims to create curiosity around cooking through hands-on demonstrations in any setting—camps, food venues, homes, restaurants, or markets. Classes include lessons in basic cooking skills, meal preparation on a limited budget, introduction to local food sources, and the connection between food and culture.

Guest Chef::The Guest Chef program invites chefs to lead an interactive cooking demonstration with the youth at their transitional living facilities or group homes. Chefs not only introduce and model basic cooking skills, but they have the opportunity to share and discuss why they have chosen the culinary arts as their profession.

Fresh Chefs Potluck Club:: Meeting every other month, the Fresh Chefs Potluck Club gathers in the home of a volunteer or chef, to share a meal made by many hands. The club consists of youth, Fresh Chefs volunteers, foster care staff, food professionals, and food-lovers. In true potluck fashion, you always leave with full bellies - and full hearts.

Apprentice Program:: The Apprentice Program offers a safe space to develop soft, pre-employment skills through a series of cooking-related learning experiences, including in-depth classes with local restaurants, chefs, farms, and other community food experts. Each Fresh Chefs Apprentice graduates with a completed food handler’s certificate, interview techniques, and experience working in the food industry. Apprentices also become part of the Fresh Chefs alumni network, where they have access to job opportunities, continuing education, and a variety of food-related events.