Kingston Cooks

Project Overview

We love food. Food is so many things for so many people. It is our culture, family, identity, community, values, and yes, nutrition. Food is also sometimes just food, and that is joyful!

Whatever food is to you, it is surely something to be celebrated. And when folks have access to nutritious, delicious food, it is often what they choose and helps them feel their best.

To celebrate good food in Kingston, the City of Kingston’s Live Well Kingston Eat Well focus team has launched a free healthy cooking workshop series – Kingston Cooks – in the Community Kitchen at the Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center in Midtown.

Kingston Cooks is for, and will reflect, the community, so we continue to welcome input from anyone who would like to offer ideas. Just like any good chef does, we’re constantly tasting and adjusting our recipe for success.

Our Recipe for Success

Kingston Cooks will support a healthy Kingston through joy, nourishment, and community. Workshop participants will:

  • Learn how to make healthy meals and/or methods of healthy food preservation
  • Gain confidence in preparing a nutritious and delicious meal
  • Receive a meal or a substantial amount of food to take home

As the workshops are for the community, they will be led by and reflect the community. They will:

  • Be taught by diverse members of our community; chefs will include people of all ages, incomes, identities, and backgrounds
  • Use locally grown and processed foods when possible
  • Highlight local businesses, including local chefs

Workshop Series Guidelines

Kingston Cooks workshops are designed to be responsive and flexible depending on the topic, but will all follow the same basic guidelines:

  • Guideline 1: Cooking workshops should support an overall sense of health and well-being through mostly healthy cooking methods and ingredients. This includes focusing mostly on whole ingredients, when possible, and primarily using healthier cooking methods.
  • Guideline 2: Recipes taught should be approachable and accessible. This means avoiding very long, expensive ingredient lists and uncommon kitchen equipment.
  • Guideline 3: Workshops should be convenient to fit into busy schedules. This means workshops generally being around 2 hours and during a time that is convenient for the intended participant.
  • Guideline 4: Workshops should be hands-on and conclude with a substantial amount of food prepared to either share as a meal or take home.
  • Guideline 5: Food safety is paramount to a successful workshop and meal. All workshops will follow food safety guidelines and clearly communicate about potential food allergens.
  • Guideline 6: All hosts and instructors should agree to and follow the Guiding Principles. More on those below.

Click here for more detailed information on the Kingston Cooks Workshop Guidelines.

Our Guiding Principles

These Guiding Principles are a shared understanding and commitment to intentionally creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive space for people of all backgrounds and relationships with food and their bodies. Below are the Shared Understandings and Shared Agreements. For more details, along with a list of references and inspiration, please click Kingston Cooks Guiding Principles.

Shared Understandings

  1. Health disparities exist.
  2. Food choices are complex.
  3. BMI and weight as measurements of health are flawed and complex
  4. Health comes in many different dimensions, not just physical health.
  5. Health is both a personal and communal journey.
  6. Our personal health and the health of our planet are intimately connected.

Shared Agreements

  1. Joy is the most important nutrient.
  2. Our approach to encouraging a healthy lifestyle is weight-neutral.
  3. Avoid good vs bad food dichotomies, and no food shaming.
  4. Healthy can have many definitions.
  5. We honor the personal aspects of everyone’s’ healthy journey through supportive community care.
  6. We respect the health of our planet and our local food system just like our own.

Join the Fun!

Below are our currently scheduled 2024 workshops, all at 5:30-7:30pm. Be sure to check out our Events page for further details.

  • Tuesday, March 19th– Highlighting Kingston Eats veggie and fruit of the month, Cabbage & Mango- Completed!
  • Thursday, May 9th – MVP x Institute for Family Health collaboration
  • Thursday, May 23rd – MVP x Institute for Family Health collaboration- diabetes focus
  • Thursday, June 6th – MVP x Institute for Family Health collaboration- bilingual in English and Spanish
  • Thursday, June 13th – Highlighting Kingston Eats veggie and fruit of the month, Lettuce & Berries- this time with toddlers!
  • Thursday, August 8th – Highlighting Kingston Eats veggie and fruit of the month, Tomatoes & Melon
  • November TBD– Highlighting Kingston Eats veggie and fruit of the month, Carrot & Pear

A Big Serving of Gratitude

Thank you to everyone who has and continues to support this project through their wisdom, time, and expertise:

  • Eat Well Nutrition Culinary Programming Subcommittee
    • Juliette McKernon, MVP Health Care
    • Melinda Herzog, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
    • Ninette Warner, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
    • Suzanne Campise, Kingston Farmers’ Market
    • Tamika Dunkley, Seasoned Delicious/Gives
  • YMCA Farm Project 2023-2024 Cooking Crew
  • Sonya Joy Key, Poughkeepsie Farm Project

To Learn More, Contact:

Kristin Kessler, RDN, CDN, CYT

Project Manager, Department of Health and Wellness, City of Kingston

We are accepting sponsorships to support the cost of the workshops while continuing to offer them for free. Please contact Kristin Kessler for more details.

Contact Us

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