Kitchen Literacy Project educating teens in the kitchen at Salt City Market

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Jess Miller is a foodie by trade with a passion for educating Syracuse teens on how to be confident in the kitchen through her program the Kitchen Literacy Project.

“Our goal is to work with kids and be like, ‘What’s in your house what’s in your neighborhood, what is accessible to you?’ And then we work with local chefs to teach those kids how to create delicious meals for themselves using what’s available to them,” Miller said.

To fund these free classes for teens, Miller offers cooking classes for people in the community.

These classes have an emphasis on teaching healthy options.

“For a lot of people, because there’s a knowledge barrier sometimes where you can go into the store and see produce you don’t really recognize, to eat healthy shouldn’t be a privilege from lack of knowledge or from lack of access,” Miller said.

With so many classes and skills to teach, Jess hopes that more than anything, all of her students have that aha moment.

“In a tiny part of our world, our attempt to work with some kids and to spur some of those aha moments, if I take this thing that my parents have in their pantry and add an egg or do this, I’ve created a complete meal for myself,” Miller said.

Creating a meal for yourself is something to be proud of.

“I want them to feel empowered to take what’s available and make beautiful meals for themselves. And have fun and freestyle in the kitchen. Get in there, play your music, make a little bit of a mess, and treat cooking as something that can be joyful, therapeutic, happy,” Miller said.

A foodie by trade, but an educator at heart.

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