From seed to plate: Students learn to cook healthy meals

Students at a St. John's elementary school discovered what it was like to cook a fresh, healthy meal in a hands-on experience on Friday.
Elementary students learn what it takes to make a fresh, homemade meal 1:47

Students at a St. John's elementary school discovered what it was like to cook a fresh and healthy meal on Friday.

At the St. Andrew's Elementary lunch room, young students got culinary coaching from Raymonds Restaurant chef Jeremy Charles.

About 70 students in first and second grade made fresh pasta, homemade bread rolls, marinara sauce, and rosemary chicken with ingredients fresh from the garden.

Charles said the enthusiasm of the kids is a good sign, and hopefully they will take part in the process more at home.

"The kids were fantastic, they were so excited to be involved and working with the doughs and the pastas and the breads and the desserts, and it's great to see the energy behind it all," he said.
Chef Jeremy Charles says it's important to get kids involved in the cooking process, so they're encouraged to eat healthier foods instead of processed goods. (CBC)

Charles said getting kids involved with the food they eat is an important learning process for them.

"I think it's great for kids to get their hands into the food and to be touching textures and just really see what goes into a meal — a healthy meal," he said.

"A lot of food you see at market every day, a lot of processed foods and stuff that just goes in the microwave which, in this day and age, I think is just unacceptable. We've got to be showing our kids how to eat healthy and from the gardens and from local producers."

The students were involved in the process from the very beginning, visiting the fresh produce section of the supermarket and talking to a dietitian.

Nancy Healey, the assistant principal at the school, said the next step is for students to talk with local farmers and to try their hand at growing food.

"We'll find out what grows well here in Newfoundland. They're going to plant their seeds in the classroom and they're going to build raised beds for a garden," she said.

It wasn't just the actual cooking the students enjoyed.

"[I liked] just feeling it, how squishy it was in my hands," said grade one student Jane Green.