21 Apr 2021

Learning delicious dishes and lifelong skills

Youth support
Standing in the kitchen as a child watching your parent or grandparent as they create a family-favourite dish is, for many, their first introduction to cooking and the start of a lifelong skill.

But what if you miss out on this moment in your life?
What if doing the big weekly grocery shop and cooking dinner each night was reserved only for those with the money and skills to do so?
A new program is helping young people who have grown up in the statutory care system to learn kitchen and cooking basics as foundations for lifelong skills.
For young people in our Youth CONNECT program, access to food that is both affordable and healthy, alongside the lack of knowledge in how to prepare nutritious meals, was an identified issue.
Noticing this skills gap, the Youth CONNECT team cooked up an initiative to teach young people some kitchen fundamentals and build on some of the basic instruction given at the young people’s homes. The team wanted to create a space that allowed young people to continue their already established cooking skills as well as learning new skills to cook quick, healthy and affordable meals within their own homes.
Late last year, they linked with CYCLE, our alternative education program, who had a space available, complete with a large kitchen perfect for cooking classes.
Youth CONNECT participant Max* identified that he enjoyed cooking, but he was struggling to find the money and motivation to make enough food each week. After completing a cooking class with the Youth CONNECT team, he realised not only how much he truly enjoyed cooking, but how easy it could actually be.
With recipe in hand, Max and the Youth CONNECT team member bought the ingredients from the supermarket before heading back to the kitchen to prepare one of Max’s all-time favourite dishes, lasagne. Following the experience, Max indicated his surprise at how easy it was to make lasagne and how the guidance and support he received made it easy for him to understand the process.
“This was a good idea and I’m glad you somehow got me to do it as I am now looking forward to making stir fry,” Max said. The cooking classes have been a hit with the young people and feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive, with young people saying how much they enjoyed this activity. After the activity is finished, the team creates personalised recipe books for the young people to refer back to when making these meals in their own homes.
We are proud to have such a creative team who look for unique ways to help the young people we work with achieve their goals. Youth CONNECT staff members continue to seek out opportunities to both help clients grow, and to feel valued by the people around them.
*Testimonials have been de-identified. Images are not of the individual.