It starts in the kitchen!

The Sylvia Center educates young people on the connection between food and health while empowering them to lead healthier lives.

The roots of health disparities start to develop in childhood:

Consume at least one sugary beverage daily

Are overweight or obese

Eat less than recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables

With our programming, young people take control of what they put on their plate.

“I don’t like vegetables, but when I tried them all together in the fried rice, I liked them.”

– Full Plate student, 1st grade

“I can taste all the flavors, it tastes so good!”

– Cooks for Health student, 4th grade

“Thanks to this program, I am a healthy food advocate for my family, my community, and – most importantly – for myself.”

– Precious, 2019 Teen Culinary Apprenticeship Alumni

Our Curriculum

Provides evidence-based nutrition education to help students make healthier choices.

Ensures students follow proper sanitation and hygiene guidelines as outlined by our in-house sanitation expert.

Delves into the science of food with cooking and baking experiments.

Challenges our students to think critically with STEAM style approaches.

Transforms students into advocates for their communities through food justice lessons and activities.

Our Programs

Full Plate

The Sylvia Center’s Full Plate programming teaches young people about the connection between the food they eat and where it comes from.  

In a series of 3 or more lessons, this program: 

  • Inspires food exploration 
  • Provides nutrition education 
  • Teaches skills to prepare a healthy snack 

Whenever possible, Full Plate lessons are paired with a farm visit. With a farm visit, participants experience, first hand, the connection of food to farm while learning about agriculture, cooking, and nutrition.


Cooks for Health


The Sylvia Center’s Cooks for Health programming provides cooking and nutrition education to youth and teens. In our Cooks for Health Family Classes, youth are joined by a parent or guardian in the kitchen. 

The Sylvia Center’s Chef Educator guides families through lessons ranging from food exploration to creating a healthy balanced plate. Each class focuses on one or more wholesome recipes.  

In all three programs, participants learn the following: 

  • Exploring new foods
  • How to add flavor healthfully
  • Basic cooking skills 
  • The difference between whole vs processed foods
  • Building a healthy plate
  • Understanding seasonality 
  • Importance of hygiene and sanitation

The role nutrition plays in good health is continuously emphasized along with building participants’ skills, confidence, and food knowledge inside and outside the kitchen. 

Teen Culinary Apprenticeship

The Sylvia Center’s Teen Culinary Apprenticeship (TCA) is a dynamic cooking program that prepares students to advocate for healthy food within their communities.

Students will learn the following:

  • Exploring new foods
  • How to add flavor healthfully
  • The difference between whole vs processed foods
  • Building a healthy plate
  • Understanding seasonality 
  • Importance of hygiene and sanitation

The program culminates with the students serving as paid Teen Chef Instructors at various summer camps with a mission to teach the youth in their community about healthy food and where it comes from. 

Students explore food justice, food science, learn the benefits of a plant-forward way of eating, and are provided opportunities to participate in food industry-related professional development opportunities.  

To learn more about our programs

If you are interested in Virtual Cooking Classes
with The Sylvia Center 

Learn More

Our Program Partners



In New York City, this means strategically partnering with community-based organizations that provide after-school programming in community centers and schools. We partner to provide our programs to their enrolled students. The majority of these programs sites are on NYCHA properties or associated with public schools.  

In Columbia County, we partner with public schools, as well as other youth-serving organizations and community-based organizations, to bring our programs into the community and onto our Learning Garden at Katchkie Farm. We cast a wide net to bring interested groups in for place-based learning on the farm and rely on volunteers for supporting these immersive days.

If you are not local to Columbia County & New York City, please look into our virtual programming because we would love to have you join our classes. Click here