about Cooking Up Learning

Showing our students that food is more than the cure for their hunger—it’s the roots to future learning.

People love Cooking Up Learning

9/10 students reported better learning outcomes and confidence in the classroom.
100% of educators see Cooking Up Learning increasing student engagement, content retention, and overall attitude toward school.

“I have personally seen the benefits of this program and I would recommend it to any teacher in any school. It is surprising to me how few children understand the process of how food gets onto their tables. With Cooking Up Learning, it allows connections to be made on multiple levels that kids can take with them for their entire lives.”

Natalie Roe
Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - Chattanooga, TN

Our Mission

Make connections to grade level specific standards while having fun in a culinary lab/garden.

Connect the community and students in authentic engagement to provide each child with real-world experiences, careers, and opportunities beyond the four-walls of a typical classroom.

Develop stronger conversational skills and career ready habits.

Celebrate creativity, culture, and diversity while trying new foods from around the world.

About Tarah

Cooking Up Learning Founder

I moved to Chattanooga, TN in 2006 from Miami, FL. Ever since childhood, I've always been found in the kitchen or watching cooking shows. Now into adulthood, clearly nothing has changed! 

Since graduating from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, I've continued to challenge myself professionally. I’m going against the grain, against the structure, and stepping out of the box. Yet, I know that with big risks come big rewards.

With my family, friends, colleagues, and (of course) my dogs, the endless support towards my passion project took root. All in all, I love giving students new opportunities to think critically, collaborate with others, practice perseverance and problem solving, and mold their creative minds in ways that push the boundaries of learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a subscription service?

No. Cooking Up Learning provides supplemental extensions to the content focused, standards-based lessons in a typical classroom. Each lesson has a literacy connection and food focused explore which allows hands-on opportunities for students.

What does a community partner visit look like?

Each community partner visit is a little different. Through a pre-visit planning conversation and comfort level, a community partner has options:
- School based visits are preferred with some hands-on component. Visuals are helpful for the younger grades (depending on the lesson).
- Career focused presentations share options as well.
- Field trips require additional planning, but are options as well. (Though it must accommodate about 80 students per grade level)

Do you provide culinary equipment rentals?

At this time, kitchen equipment or tool rental isn't an option. Future plans are formulating to grow Cooking Up Learning beyond Hamilton County. Look for updates! 

I don't have a culinary lab in my school, what can I do?

Start small! Conventional countertop convection ovens, hotplates, and hand blenders are all easy to use and store in a lounge/classroom. Find recipes that are easy and under 30 minutes. But more importantly, find connections and have fun! 

Why is Cooking Up Learning focused on elementary-aged students and not middle school?

According to research, "The primary school stage is an important developmental period for accumulating knowledge and learning to understand society. It is also an important stage for children’s personality development (Soto and Tackett, 2015)".
Similarly, students’ positive experience and satisfaction are significant during the educational process, since student-centered environments that fulfil users’ expectations tend to have higher learning performances (Hsieh YH, Lin YC, Hou HT 2016)."

In layman's terms, younger students have a brain like a sponge. They absorb many different learning experiences and develop new habits/hobbies prior to middle school. Providing new experiences in a culinary lab allows educators to blend the classic ways of teaching with a new modernized way to create something truly one of a kind: a new age of learning for a new generation of inquisitive minds.

How can I help?

Although I do not have the luxury to hire anyone, I'd love you to contact me if you want to have Cooking Up Learning practices into your school. Spreading the word! I'd love more elementary schools around the county to have Cooking Up Learning embedded within its schedule.

I also have an ongoing wish list that always has new items to enhance the learning experience found in the culinary lab: View On Amazon

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