Be a part of our team!
The Chef Instructor's role is to teach participants the basics of food and kitchen safety, food preparation, and making healthy choices and substitutions when cooking. Classes are highly participatory, therefore, chefs must...read more
While Nutrition Instructors do not need to be registered dietitians, they must have a strong background in nutrition, food science, dietetics, or a related field. The nutrition instructor will lead class discussions on basic healthy eating...read more
The Class Assistant's role is perfect for someone that cannot commit to all six weeks of a course. The Class Assistant is an extra set of hands that is essential for the success of the class!
You will assist in setting up the course...read more
Due to the increased requests for Spanish-language classes, Interpreters need to be fully bilingual in Spanish with the ability to interpret verbally between participants and the course volunteers. An interpreter needs to translate...read more
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.Am I qualified to be a Cooking Matters Chef Instructor?
If you’ve worked in the culinary industry and/or attended culinary school, are proficient in knife skills, basic cooking techniques, kitchen safety/sanitation, and basic ingredient substitutions, you’re qualified! You should be able to successfully and comfortably teach basic cooking skills and techniques to our participants. If you’re a current culinary student, you’re welcome to volunteer; however you may find that filling in as the Class Assistant before taking the lead instructor role may be beneficial.
Q.Am I qualified to be a Cooking Matters Nutrition Instructor?
Our Nutrition Instructors are educated in nutrition: they are Registered Dieticians, nutrition professionals, and/or nutrition students, past and present. You should be able to successfully and comfortably teach nutrition lessons based on MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines in a shared group setting. If you’re an undergraduate nutrition student, you are welcome to volunteer but may find that volunteering as a Class Assistant first may be beneficial before taking the role as lead Nutrition Instructor.
Q.Am I qualified to be a Cooking Matters Class Assistant?
There is no specific training or experience needed to be a successful Class Assistant. If you have an interest in food, nutrition, healthy living, and putting an end to childhood hunger but don’t want to jump into the instructor role (at least not yet), being a Class Assistant is the right role for you! The Class Assistant provides support to the lead instructors: an extra pair of hands during class, helping set up and clean up. The assistant is not expected to provide cooking or nutrition information, but this role can also provide an aspiring culinary or Nutrition Instructor with the opportunity to experience the 6-week course before determining if the lead instructor role would be suitable.
Q.What other skills do I need to be a Cooking Matters course volunteer?
The ability to work as part of a volunteer team, basic public speaking skills, comfort working with people from diverse backgrounds, and the ability to multi-task are ingredients for a great volunteer experience. Flexibility, good improvisation skills, and the ability to laugh at yourself are also necessary. Prior teaching experience is an added bonus.
Q.Are there other non-course volunteer opportunities available?
Yes, we have other volunteer opportunities to be filled. We have one-time volunteer opportunities, perfect if you cannot commit to a 6-week course. They include healthy cooking workshops, food demonstrations, representing Cooking Matters at health fairs, becoming a Cooking Matters at the Store facilitator, and leading guided grocery store tours or volunteering as a course grocery shopper.
Q.Can I observe a Cooking Matters class before I begin volunteering?
We strongly encourage you to see a Cooking Matters class in action. In fact, observing a class is part of the volunteer training process. We recommend observing the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th week of a course. If you are interested in volunteering for our one-time workshops, it is not necessary to observe a class before you sign up to volunteer, but it is a great learning experience in case you would be interested in volunteering for a 6-week course in the future.
Q.I feel strongly about eating organic, shopping locally, etc. Can I share this during my Cooking Matters lessons?
We love that our volunteers are passionate about food and nutrition, but many of our participants are just beginning to think about making healthier food and nutrition choices. Share your passions and healthy eating tips in a way that invites discussion and is sensitive to different perspectives. All nutrition lessons are based on MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines, and all class recipes use readily-accessible and affordable ingredients.
Q.How long are the courses and when do they meet?
Each course meets for 2 hours plus ½ hour before class to set up, and ½ hour after class to clean up, once a week for six weeks. Courses are scheduled Monday through Thursday, 9am-8pm and Fridays, 9am-3pm. They meet on the same day and time each week. We ask volunteers and participants to attend all 6 weeks.
Q.How long are the one-time healthy cooking workshops?
Workshops only meet once for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Workshops are scheduled Monday through Thursday, 9am-8pm, Fridays, 9am-3pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm.
Q.Where are Cooking Matters courses located?
The courses are located throughout the state of Connecticut. For more information on course location, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q.Who participates in the Cooking Matters courses?
Cooking Matters courses are for lower-income families and individuals. The majority of our participants receive SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps) and may access programs like WIC or local food pantries. Our different curricula serves all age and lifestyle groups from a widerange of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
Q.Do all the participants speak English?
No. All Cooking Matters curricula are available in English and Spanish. If the participants do not speak English, the organization hosting the course provides an interpreter.
Q.Does Cooking Matters recruit participants to take courses?
The community organizations we partner with that host courses are responsible for recruiting participants they feel will benefit from attending a nutrition-based cooking course.