Nurturing Young Culinary Talents: The Jr. Chef Program’s Delicious Journey.

In 2016, the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District, in collaboration with the Modesto Certified Farmers Market, founded the Jr. Chef program through a Farmers Market Promotion Program grant. The mission of the program has been to introduce the community’s youth to the art of cooking fresh and nutritious meals while fostering healthy habits and a lifelong love for the culinary arts.

Over the years, the program has evolved into a thriving afterschool program run by Meriam Jacobs, Andrea Brophy, and Gavin Bruce, with the cooking lessons taught by talented local chef volunteers. This vibrant program equips each young participant with a diverse array of health-conscious recipes, from savory zucchini pizza boats to flavorful veggie stir-fries, versatile omelets, refreshing salads, and more. Beyond cooking skills, it prioritizes knife safety and kitchen etiquette, ensuring that each young participant begins their culinary journey with confidence.

Last month’s class hosted a total of 15 eager kids who, at the conclusion of the program’s 4 classes, receive a Jr. Chef Certificate of Completion and a charming goodie bag containing essential cooking tools, a recipe book, and herb seeds, encouraging them to further explore their culinary talents in the comfort of their homes.

Meriam and Bella | East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District

The Jr. Chef program has blossomed into a cherished community institution, thanks to its undeniable success. As its popularity soared, it became clear that expanded community support was needed. Morning Star, with its philanthropic spirit, stepped in to provide prep tables and a brand-new dishwasher, providing invaluable resources that were previously unavailable.

This initiative extends beyond cooking; it imparts knowledge about the origins of fruits and vegetables, enabling young participants to create delicious and wholesome meals from scratch. Morning Star’s dedication to instilling a passion for food and culinary knowledge perfectly aligns with the program’s core values, and we extend our heartfelt appreciation for their enduring support.


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