Jr. Iron Chef RVA Competition: Fun and Community

Junior Iron Chef RVA is an 8 week summer youth program that focuses on teaching culinary and healthy food skills. Twenty lucky students trained in a professional kitchen– a workshop, that culminated in a festive competition on August 26th at Peter Paul Development Center in Church Hill.

How Did We Get Here?
Richmond has made national headlines for its budding culinary scene and talented chefs but has also gained the spotlight for being home to some of the largest food deserts for a city of its size. Church Hill and Greater Fulton make up a large portion of Richmond’s food deserts. The Neighborhood Resource Center, Peter Paul Development Center, Shalom Farms and Greater Richmond Fit4Kids seek a new and exciting way to engage in change around this epidemic. For this reason, we successfully launched the first ever Jr Iron Chef RVA event. This is a community event to connect all community members and families to resources around health, nutrition, gardening, food and access and to bring awareness to the issues that our communities face.

Getting To The Meat Of It!
Having access to fresh, whole foods is only a part of a much larger problem. Knowing what to do with fresh ingredients can help to make healthier decisions in the kitchen, leading to a healthier, more fulfilled lifestyle. The Junior Iron Chef Program is an 8 week summer enrichment program that focuses on teaching culinary skills, exploring healthy food options, defining farm to table efforts and giving students a better view of our local food and market scene.

The Event
Our partners and sponsors hosted information, demo tables, and farm stands highlighting food, gardening, health, nutrition, and access. We gave away seeds, late summer/fall seedlings, and cookbooks. More importantly, we connected community members to local resources that they can use to live healthier lives.