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MTK Initiative in New York City: Empowering Communities through Culinary Education


In Brooklyn, New York City, the NNEdPro US Mobile Teaching Kitchen Team has been working on Phase-1 pilot activities (March to July 2023), starting with inception workshops held in partnership with SUNY Downstate Medical Center and its community outreach program at the Brownsville Community Culinary Center (BCCC) in March 2023 and concluding with two externally facing culinary experience events at BCCC on the 27th and 29th of July.

The MTK Initiative in New York City has made significant strides in its Phase-1 pilot activities, enriching communities with culinary education and promoting healthy eating habits. With a dedicated team and ambitious plans for the future, the MTK Initiative is set to continue empowering individuals to make informed choices about their nutrition, health, and overall well-being. The positive impact of this initiative will undoubtedly continue to resonate within the hearts and minds of the community for years to come.

The Journey Begins: Inception Workshops at Brownsville Community Culinary Center

The MTK Initiative started its journey in March 2023 with inception workshops in collaboration with SUNY Downstate Medical Center and the Brownsville Community Culinary Center (BCCC). These workshops set the foundation for the upcoming activities and garnered valuable insights from the community.

Dedicated Leadership and Expertise

Jen Shamro, a registered nurse with a wealth of experience in food service and plant-based diets, along with Rebecca Johnson, an executive plant-based chef-trainer and partnerships manager at Plant Powered Metro New York (PPMNY), have been the driving forces behind the NYC MTK Initiative. Their leadership and expertise have been crucial in shaping the programme's success. In their commitment to professional development, Jen and Rebecca completed the NNEdPro-IANE Summer School and Foundation Certificate in Applied Human Nutrition. The course, double-accredited by the Royal Society of Biology and Royal College of Physicians and affiliated with the University of Parma, further solidified their knowledge and expertise.

Community Engagement: The Culinary Experience Events

The MTK Initiative made its mark with two captivating culinary experience events at the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. The first, held on 27th July, was a free community event with an impressive turnout of over 30 enthusiastic community members. The second event on 29th July was a ticketed affair celebrating the newly trained champions and preceptors, Colette Boston and Verda Bataille. This event had a tribute to the original MTK champions from India, passing the torch to the dynamic NYC team.

The Impact So Far

The MTK Initiative has been making significant strides in promoting nutrition education and culinary skills. The journey thus far has included conceptual MTK workshops in Washington, DC, and NYC, champions' training sessions in both cities and a successful MTK Culinary Experience event in DC at the Hyatt:

21st March: Washington, DC – Hybrid Conceptual MTK Workshop

23rd and 24th March: NYC – Conceptual & Culinary MTK Workshops

8th and 16th June and 19th July: Brooklyn champions training

8th and 22nd July: DC Champions training

22nd July: MTK DC Culinary Experience event at the Hyatt

27th July: MTK Brooklyn Culinary Experience event at BCCC (community)

29th July: MTK NYC Culinary Experience at BCCC (ticketed)

Looking Ahead: Next Steps

With the completion of Phase-1 pilot activities, the MTK Initiative is gearing up for the next chapter. Plans are underway to bring champions and preceptors from NYC and DC groups together for further training in nutrition education, event management, and business enterprise. Additionally, the team is excited to start preparation towards the first draft of the MTK US Cookbook, a treasure trove of nutritious and delicious recipes which will be brought to life through cookery courses along with nutrition education.

In November 2023, the MTK Initiative will return with another round of external events, allowing even more individuals to experience the joy of cooking and eating healthily.

Gratitude and Acknowledgments

The MTK Initiative in New York City owes its success to the dedication and passion of its team members and local steering group. Special thanks go to MTK preceptors Jahanda King, Jen Shamro, Rebecca Johnson, and Rory (Lawrence) Langan, whose commitment to the cause has been commendable. The support and involvement of local steering group members Aimee Afable, Elizabeth Helzner, Eloísa Trinidad, Emily Johnston, Mariana Markell, and Tamer Badr have also been instrumental in shaping the programme. Finally, special thanks to Matheus Abrantes, Sucheta Mitra, Tecla Coleman, Prof Sumantra Ray, Veronica Funk, Nikitah Ray, Wanja Nyaga, Sarah Armes, Harmanpreet Singh & the MTKi team for their efforts in making these activities possible!

To help us impact the lives of even more champions, please support us.

Check out all photos of our activities in the US in July 2023 on our Flickr profile:

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