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Chicago chefs and non-profit helping teach kids how to make healthy meals

Chicago chefs, non-profit help teach kids how to make healthy meals
Chicago chefs, non-profit help teach kids how to make healthy meals 02:38

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two renowned chefs and the leader of a Chicago non-profit are on a mission to nourish the minds and bodies of Chicago Public Schools students.

They're teaching kids how to make healthy meals for themselves and their families for years to come.

A group of kindergarteners and first and second graders at Parker Elementary School in Englewood are among kids from 24 Chicago Public Schools taking part in the Wellness with Bella Igniting Minds program.

The kids spent Thursday creating a fresh salad with a variety of mixed greens, along with mouthwatering salted caramel chocolate chip cookies, and Jell-O topped with whipped cream.

"That's what I liked about Jell-O. I never knew frosting could go on Jell-O," second grader Devonta Watkins said.

The students traveled from their Englewood neighborhood to Oak Brook to learn hands-on cooking techniques from renowned chefs Craig Couper and Cedric Harden, from Cornerstone Restaurant Group.

"It's a really great feeling to work with the youth of Chicago, using food and cooking as a way to connect with them, and just help their education and wellbeing," Couper said.

"You always want to set the next generation up for success, as well as you can as an individual. So it definitely feels good," Harden said.

Seven-year-old Aamira Coleman said the event has inspired her to create new meals at home.

"I want to go to the grocery store with my mother and my family, to go and get some items to see what we can make," she said.

The Igniting Minds program was created by Latrice McArthur. During the pandemic, McArthur was recognized by the Obama Foundation for making sure CPS students and their families had free healthy meals to eat. Her non-profit Wellness with Bella partnered with Cornerstone Restaurant Group and others to deliver more than 100,000 meals to families in need.

"The majority of our students live in neighborhoods that don't have access to fresh and healthy foods, so it's important that we bring those resources to them, and teach them, so that they can bring them home," she said.

Each of the 15 Cornerstone Restaurant Group restaurants – among them Michael Jordan's Steak House in Oak Brook – will have a special dish on the menu in May, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Wellness with Bella Igniting Minds program.

The money will be used for delivering meals to students in need, and supporting hands-on after school cooking classes, among other things.

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