Cooking Classes and So Much More

Community-based cooking classes can be a great way to bring people together through food while also potentially boosting their economic power. By teaching new skills and building networks of support, we help residents connect to others as they take steps to gain employment or start small businesses.

IMPACT Network Builder Daniel Centeno (a culinary school graduate and certified food handler) taught IMPACT's 10-week cooking course in the commercial kitchen at Hughes United Methodist Church in Wheaton.  The 11 cooking class students were from a variety of backgrounds, but all shared a desire to learn new or improve existing culinary skills. Lessons covered topics such as knife skills, food safety, menu development, and calculating food costs.  The classes were more than just an opportunity for skill-building, they also allowed students to support their community by helping with the prep of more than 250 hot meals served each week to the elderly, those experiencing homelessness, and single-parent families in need of food.

On June 25, a graduation ceremony was held for cooking class participants. Graduating students received certificates of completion, new chef skull caps, and lots of hugs and handshakes from friends and family. Celebrants dined on a delicious meal prepared by students that included such delicacies as pierogi, shrimp ceviche, and stuffed grape leaves.  Many thanks to Hughes United Methodist Church, So What Else, and the Community Foundation of Greater Washington for their support of this initiative.

We hope to have more community-based cooking classes in the future.  If you have questions or want more information, contact Daniel Centeno at

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