Cooking Crew Academy

We work with educators to develop worksheets, project plans, and resources to bring rebel-style food education to the classroom.

How might we design school lunch according to the Rebel Values? We designed Cooking Crew Academy (CCA) to empower kids (young chefs) at school to create and serve beautiful food to their peers.

CCA is an after-school or summer camp activity where students are divided into teams, and along with mentors (high school students, staff, and adult volunteers) compete to make the best meal using a select set of fresh ingredients, a pantry of staples, and whatever is available in the school garden.


The power of CCA are the young chefs, who can be any kids in school. We wait till kids are about 9-10 years old to train them to use sharp metal things (knives, peelers, graters) and cook with fire. Kids 8 and under can still participate by tearing leaves, stirring, cleaning, and serving. Combining different ages of kids works great- empower the older kids to manage, supervise, and lead.

Each CCA team (3-10 young chefs per team) needs an adult mentor (the Chef Mentors). This can be school staff, adult volunteers (parents, local college/grad students, pro cooks/chefs).

The Chef Ref is a consistent adult (most likely school staff) who keeps track of the score, orders/inventory food and supplies, and generally oversees the CCA project.


CCA begins with all the young chefs and chef mentors gathering together. The Chef Ref reviews the current score, highlights ways the young chefs excelled the previous CCA session and ways they can improve. The young chefs and mentors then divide into their teams, put on their hats/aprons, and begin the set-up activities on the Recipe Flowchart. This includes signing in a picking a head chef, taking out the cooking supplies, setting up the 4-bin cleaning station, and sanitizing the work spaces. The head chef is a young chef who is responsible for the behavior and effort of his/her team.


  • The first team to finish the set-up activities picks first in the Ingredient Draft. After the ingredients are gathered, the team completes the Recipe Flowchart to plan what they will make that day. Each ingredient is identified and organized by when and how it will be prepared.


  • The young chefs and mentors divide responsibilities and prepare the meal. All the dishes are cleaned immediately after they are used in the 4-bin system. Besides cooking and cleaning, young chefs also design signs to advertise their meal, and set-up the meal service experience.


  • After all the food is served, the young chefs and mentors share each other’s food. Once all eating is over, all supplies and foods are organized and stored safely.

Perishable Food

  • In-season fruits and vegetables (from local markets and gardens)
  • Onions, garlic, carrots, jalapeños, limes
  • Apple, pineapple, orange juices
  • Plain yogurt

Nonperishable Food

  • Spices
  • Whole grains
  • Canned beans
  • Frozen fruits
  • Basic condiments
  • Oils and different vinegar
Permanent Supplies
  • Basic cooking tools (organized in rodent-proof bins per team)
  • 1 or 2 blenders per team
  • 4-6 metal bowls per team
  • 2 large serving/mixing bowls per team
  • butane burners (1 or 2 per team)
  • 4 dish tubs per team
  • Basic cleaning supplies for each team (dish towels, sponges)
  • Different color hats (1 per chef)
  • Aprons (1 per chef)
  • Basic art supplies (washable markers, construction paper, tape)
  • 1 laminated Recipe Flowchart per team

Disposable Supplies

  • Paper plates and bowls
  • Plastic cups and heat-proof paper cups
  • Plastic spoons, forks, and knives
  • Paper towels
  • Vinyl gloves in different sizes
  • Soap, bleach
  • Butane canisters
  • Post-it notes (2 or 3 pads per team)
Cooking Academy Recipe Flowchart