Culinary Connection’s Recipe for Independence is a recipe for success! The nine-week program pilot taught individuals with disabilities about wellness education and culinary skill building.
During the latter half of 2021, the team at Easterseals UCP launched the pilot program which focused on teaching individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the skills they need to live healthy and independent lives. This independent cooking experience, aptly named Recipe for Independence, infuses wellness education and culinary skill-building in a small group setting.
The program pilot is a recipe for culinary skill building. Four participants from Easterseals UCP’s Greenville ICS program and two from our Transition to Independent Living program in Ahoskie joined in on the fun! Our instructors focused on creating an interactive learning experience for everyone involved. The program included a pre-assessment and eight weeks of classroom instruction, which culminated in a showcase event where participants were able to demonstrate what they learned.
Each week the Recipe for Independence team addressed cooking and wellness topics, presented through hands-on learning opportunities:
- Kitchen safety
- Comfort with tools and techniques
- Recipe practice
- Healthy food access
- Food as socialization
- Independent replication at home
- Social determinants of health
- Whole person health (food access, employment, socialization, housing)
The results speak for themselves! When pre-assessment and post-assessment results were compared, participants demonstrated increased understanding of the relationship between food and wellness and greatly improved their culinary skills. We also observed a significant increase in kitchen confidence throughout the program! All of the individuals involved in the pilot were excited to continue working on their culinary skills at home.
Easterseals UCP is developing a suite of programs, called Culinary Connections, focused on cooking and wellness instruction. Recipe for Independence was a proof-of-concept pilot program that, if funded, will fall under Culinary Connections.
Let’s keep cookin’!
About Easterseals UCP
Easterseals UCP North Carolina & Virginia is a trustworthy, compassionate partner providing exceptional disability and behavioral health services to help our neighbors live their best lives. Purpose, dedication and empathy drive our service delivery. Our diverse and inclusive 2,300 member team provides more than 9 million hours of meaningful support to 22,000 kids, adults and families in 11,000 home and community locations.
The 2021 Recipe for Independence pilot program was generously funded by Vidant Health’s Community Benefit Grants Program.