Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Foundation Launches National School-Based Culinary Education Program
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Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Foundation Launches National School-Based Culinary Education Program

Through a network of schools across the country, Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen offers a ground-to-plate curriculum focused on empowering children through food.

Emeril Lagasse Foundation announces the launch of Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen, a national education initiative created to enrich the lives of elementary and middle school children through a fun, fresh perspective on food. The program fully integrates culinary gardens and teaching kitchens in schools as interactive learning environments.

Through a unique curriculum developed by a national task force of educators, culinary professionals and farm-to-school experts, schools are provided with grade-level standards for gardening and cooking classes that are not only integrated across all core subjects, but also aligned with national academic standards. The curriculum uses over 100 of Chef Emeril’s recipes that have been modified for the classroom.

Emeril's Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen is the vision of Chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife, Alden. Since they established the Emeril Lagasse Foundation in 2002, the Foundation has granted more than $10 million to children’s charities that provide culinary, nutrition and arts education. While those efforts will remain a cornerstone of the Foundation’s mission, the creation of Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen will allow the Foundation to broaden its reach and make a direct, lasting impact on youth in America.

“Since Alden and I started the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, we have seen great outcomes for youth, through supporting garden and cooking education programs,” said Chef Emeril Lagasse. “It was because of these programs that Alden and I decided we wanted our family’s philanthropic legacy to be a school-based garden and cooking program that would directly inspire children on a national level.”

Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen uses four key pillars to guide implementation. The program seeks to provide an appreciation for the source of food, an understanding of nutrition and the importance of healthy eating habits, the development of life skills and the development of culinary skills.

“We believe this program will pave the way for children from all walks of life to be healthier, to appreciate food and its role in culture and to serve as ambassadors for healthy eating within their families and communities,” said Brian Kish, president of Emeril Lagasse Foundation.

Many schools, particularly those in underserved communities, lack the resources to develop fully integrated programs that feature both gardens and kitchens. The program provides financial support for schools to enhance their existing gardens to become inspiring outdoor classrooms and to expand programming by building a teaching kitchen for hands-on instruction. The program also provides a K-8 garden and cooking curriculum, teacher training on how to integrate the curriculum with academic subjects and other resources to run the program effectively.

“The breadth and scope of this program is unmatched,” said Kish. “We’re investing in each school’s success by providing a five-year grant with capital support and ongoing technical assistance.”

The program is currently being established at the first school in Florida, with other schools in California, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas and Washington, D.C. under consideration. The Foundation’s goal is to have the program implemented and running in at least 10 schools by 2023.

“This program has been years in the making and represents a pivotal moment for the Foundation,” said Chef Lagasse. “We want more kids to have positive memories and experiences learning through the world of food, because we believe that gardening and cooking education integrated with academics nurtures a child not only in the classroom, but in life."

Schools interested in applying for a grant to implement Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen can learn more about the application process here. Corporations or individuals interested in supporting the program can learn more here.

About Emeril Lagasse Foundation:

Founded in 2002 by Chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden, Emeril Lagasse Foundation is a 501c(3) public charity headquartered in New Orleans. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education with a focus on life skills development. Since its inception, Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted more than $10 million to several children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs. The Foundation was recognized as the 2016 Nonprofit of the Year by Louisiana Association of Non-Profit Organizations. To learn more about the Foundation and its beneficiaries, visit Emeril.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.