Zak Pelaccio's The Cooking Room

Getting your kids to eat healthier and more adventurously is a task many would not want to take on. Cue in chef Zak Pellaccio, who has started The Cooking Room program. This program for elementary school children helps kids in kindergarten through 5th grade learn more about food and cooking. Kitchen classrooms are cropping up in a number of different schools throughout the United States where both teachers and professional chefs can educate students about nutrition as well as food-related lessons that use science, math and reading. Similar to Chefs Move to Schools, this program takes advantage of the wealth of knowledge that chefs have to offer, and brings it into the classroom. Pelaccio along with Dorothy Hamilton and Phil Gutensohn from the International Culinary Center/ French Culinary Institute are using the classroom as a means to teach kids how to create good food with real ingredients. It's not about using processed or packaged foods but instead becoming more educated in using organic and local produce to achieve the same effect in recipes.

The curriculum is being overhauled to fit the standards that the Department of Education holds. Each lesson is catered to each grade and is sometimes arranged by taste like sour, salty, sweet or bitter as well as focusing on topics like reading comprehension or fractions. In due time, the Cooking Room Program hopes to have a standardized program that can run in conjunction with regular classroom lessons. Kids are already becoming more adventurous; many kids have already tried decadent ingredients like caviar as well as healthy vegetables and greens. Not only that, but they've enjoyed them!

Already well on its way, the Cooking Room still has a long way to go until it can become fully formalized and integrated within the school system. It takes baby steps in order to get kids to work with real, healthy, raw ingredients and prepare good meals as well as to phase out processed and junk foods from their diets. To help the Cooking Room Program, you can donate your money or time by volunteering and teaching classes. Go to their website to learn more.

Read more at The Huffington Post.