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Story in Brief

The Chef Gracy Day Camp promotes the awareness of the benefits of a balanced diet, encourages campers to try new foods, and teaches basic culinary skills. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clayton County Extension offered the Chef Gracy Cooking Camp virtually in 2020. Each camp offered 16 hours of sessions based on healthy habits, food safety, and the importance of the reduction of sodium, fat, and sugar. Through a mix of hands-on activities, virtual field trips, cooking demonstrations, and scientific experiments, students learned about the importance of basic knowledge in the kitchen. The week ended with a Chef Gracy Cook Off similar to the Food Network show, “Chopped: Junior.” Campers were given three mystery ingredients on Wednesday afternoon to use in a dish they would prepare and present on Friday morning. County extension agents were available to watch and provide encouraging feedback. Participants completed a post webinar survey and received the recipes demonstrated in throughout the series. Within the four weeks, the camp reached 82 youth in grades 4-12. Following the sessions, 90 percent of participants expressed increased comfort and confidence in the kitchen. Wrote one camper, “I learned so much! I learned knife skills, details about healthy cuisine and lifestyles, and food preservation. However, I'd say the most important lesson I learned was that even though I was one of the younger ones, I was able to create the same amazing food.”