"The program worked to bring our parental community together. Also, what a great way for parents to connect with their kids at home. Thank you."

- Principal

photo by: Jackie Connelly

Project CHEF is a lived curriculum. The students absorb so much from seeing, doing and tasting. It would be wonderful if every child could experence this program!

- Principal

“With childhood obesity on the rise, it becomes crucial to promote healthy eating. To do this by example is extraordinary!! It should be an integrated component of everyday school programs. It would be a cost effective and healthy promotion strategy to embrace. Healthy eating is a must and a challenge with present busy families. It also encourages and supports parents to ensure healthy eating.”

- Parent

"Kids got to know more about Canada's Food Guide while actually eating it."

- Parent

“This is a great learning experience. I saw a great interest and enthusiasm in my son as the week progressed. I feel very confident that he can now manage kitchen tasks with out hurting himself. I really liked the emphasis on healthy eating. This program should be mandatory in all schools as it is very educational but lots of fun as well.”

- Parent

"Who knew healthy food could taste so delicious."

- Grade 5 student

 "The recipes are chosen well. Many students will make them at home as the ingredients are easy to find, equipment is available in most homes and the children are proud to demonstrate their learning to their families. The program has changed the behavior of our students."

- Teacher

“I really think of food differently now that I understand food. Now I will start eating differently.”

- Student





Why Project CHEF?

Traditionally, children learned about healthy food choices and cooking from family
members and the social and cultural aspects related to food were learned at the table in the context of a family meal. Times have changed and in our fast-paced lives this knowledge and the associated skills are often not being transferred to the younger generation. Meals consisting of nutritionally lacking, highly processed foods are eaten on the run and rarely around a dinner table.

Recent studies on children’s eating practices and current state of health coupled with the alarming projections for the future indicate a dire need to re-educate children and families about life-long healthy eating.

Since studies indicate that children’s eating habits are formed by the time they are twelve years old, it is imperative that we educate children and expose them to healthy, whole foods at an early age. Experiential learning is one of the most powerful ways to learn and studies have shown that children who have had a hands-on opportunity to explore and prepare new and nutritious foods will be more likely to eat healthy foods. Hands- on cooking programs have been proven to influence children and help them develop the skills to encourage healthy eating throughout their lives, improve their diets and prevent obesity.

About Us

Project CHEF is a non-profit program that partners with Vancouver School Board to teach children about wholesome food. The Project CHEF program began implementation in the winter of 2008. At the conclusion of the 2013 – 2014 school year, the program has reached approximately 8400 children from Vancouver schools and directly involved over 4800 parent and community volunteers.

Our Mission

To teach children the knowledge and skills necessary to make healthy food choices and enable them to make wholesome, nutritious meals for themselves so that they may lead healthy lives.

Program Goals

The children will:

1. Gain knowledge and skills necessary to make informed choices about the food they eat.

2. Develop skill and confidence in making culturally diverse, nutritious meals that comply with Canada’s Food Guide.

3. Apply principles of safety in the kitchen with regard to personal and kitchen cleanliness, food safety and safety using kitchen equipment and utensils.

4. Participate in the pleasures of shared meals at a table and become aware of social and cultural behaviors associated with meal service.

5. Work cooperatively with their peers, school staff, parents and community in promoting and enjoying healthy food choices.

6. Using environmentally sensitive food practices by using local foods, or food sourced from as close to home as possible, recycling refuse, composting and use real dishes and cutlery.

Project CHEF Creator

The Project CHEF program was created by teacher and chef, Barb Finley. An educator (B.Ed., M.Ed.) for over twenty-five years, Barb has taught in Langley & Vancouver School Districts, UBC Faculty of Education, Dubrulle Culinary Institute and the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. Through her work, her mission is to reconnect children with the food they eat and to help children discover the process and pleasure in cooking and sharing food together.


Program Summary

© Project CHEF 2012