"Kid Chef" Program Teaches Skills to Kids at Stevenson House - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

"Kid Chef" Program Teaches Skills to Kids at Stevenson House

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Making a meal is making a difference in some kids' lives.

A new program at the Stevenson House Detention Center in Milford, called "Kid Chef," helps teens learn cooking skills.

But Kid Chef, run through the Food Bank of Delaware, is about much more than food. 18-year-old Victor Vasquez learned to make a small pizza on his third day in the class.

"I learned how to make food without meat, how to use healthy stuff, how many cups of vegetables you need a day," Vasquez said. "You need three-and-a-half."

"They learn about the cooking skills, how to cook and prepare the meal," said John Stevenson, superintendent of Stevenson House. "But they also learn about nutrition. What is protein, what is fiber, what does a healthy meal consist of."

"Nasty food may be nasty, but it's good for you," said Vasquez. "The good food is bad for you sometimes. That's what they told us."

Stevenson House is for kids who have been charged with a crime but haven't yet had a trial or placement. So far, about 20 teens there for various reasons have gone through the Kid Chef program.

At the end of the program, the kids are given a bag full of different cooking utensils, like a spatula and a whisk. But Stevenson said it is not the physical things the kids get that are important; It is the independent living skills.

"When they get out of here, they're going to need to know how to feed and fend for themselves and know what's healthy," he said. "It teaches them to do things, like eat a nutritionally-balanced meal, on the outside."

It's something Vasquez says he will put to use.

"I could make something with a lot of vegetables. Nobody would know, because it's inside of it. I'd give it to them. They'd say it's good."

Only then would he tell them what was actually in it. And he expects they would be surprised.

The Food Bank of Delaware works with the Stevenson House on other programs, too. That includes a pantry to get needy families food, and also helps connect them with other related services in Delaware.

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