Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen Opens

Jul 21, 2014

Cortlandt Manor, NY

NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital’s Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen officially opened today with a visit from Congresswoman Nita Lowey and an announcement of a Signature Chefs Series that will help to fund the kitchen in future years.

A group of people at a cooking class

Children from the Peekskill School District worked with Chef Kelly to prepare breakfast for Congresswoman Lowey and the more than 50 guests who turned out to christen the new kitchen.

"With the opening of the Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen we have the opportunity to teach people of all ages a healthier approach to eating and to help them understand why their diet is so very important to their health. We thank Chef Peter Kelly and others who have supported this kitchen as well as our Congresswoman Nita Lowey for advocating for preventive health initiatives like this one," said NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital President John C. Federspiel.

"Keeping our communities safe and healthy, especially for our children, is a top priority," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey. "I’m happy that Chef Peter X. Kelly is part of NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital’s initiative to encourage healthy diets that help children break bad nutritional habits early on. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, I have fought for additional investments in nutrition and wellness initiatives, including the Stop Obesity in Schools Act and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which became law in 2010. Together, we can help ensure a healthier future for children and adults alike."

The Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen – named after the "Iron Chef" winner and owner of Xaviars Restaurant Group – is part of a larger initiative at the Hospital called Harvest for Health which includes an organic garden, twice -monthly farmers’ markets and a locally sourced food service for patients and employees. Through this initiative the Hospital is working with patients and the general community to teach them to better manage their health through diet and lifestyle changes. Classes range from general cooking instruction to very specific curriculum for diabetics, cancer and heart patients, breastfeeding moms and those with gluten sensitivities. A program designed especially for children - The Young Chefs of the Hudson Valley- works with children 11-13 in Peekskill and other local schools to prevent childhood obesity.

Chef Kelly said supporting the kitchen and, in particular, the Young Chefs program was important to him. To achieve this goal, Chef Kelly announced a Signature Chefs Series. The series will feature noted chefs of the Hudson Valley such as Waldy Malauf, Ethan Kostbar, David Dibari, Eric Gabrinowitz and Anthony Goncalves among others, and will host seasonal dinners in the kitchen showcasing locally sourced foods of the Hudson Valley. The meals will be auctioned and prepared privately for the highest bidders. All proceeds from the Signature Chefs Series will go to support the Young Chefs program for at- risk middle school children.

The Young Chefs program strives to teach children about the importance of healthy eating through cooking classes that are fun and interactive. The goal is to break bad eating habits that can result in chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure later in life.

With ingredients donated by local farms including Coach Farms

DoReMe Farms and Homestead Farms, children in the program prepared a goat milk yogurt parfait with homemade granola and a watermelon drink from guests at the opening.

Jameek Allen, 11, a student at Peekskill Middle School, said he hoped to learn some healthy cooking skills when he starts classes with the Young Chefs Program in the fall.

"I’d like to make what we made today for my family," he said. "It was really good."

Other students who participated at the event were; Pearl Cobblah, Keosha Smith, Andrew Leff and Aaryana Garzon.

Chef Kelly said unlike other programs that work to prevent childhood obesity, the Young Chefs program doesn’t stop at teaching kids about the healthy plate or five-a-day philosophy. It works to help children develop a love and appreciation of food from the garden to plate.

"When kids go into the garden and pick a carrot and then prepare it, they have a better understanding of where their food comes from," said Kelly. "Hopefully, making this connection will completely change their relationship with food and help them to develop better eating habits."