Photos by Samantha Bengtson
City Council Member Yanely Martinez helps students drain the liquid out of their tuna can. Below, cooking students work together to open a can of tuna.
GREENFIELD — Healthy eating, portion control and teamwork are just a few of the lessons local youth learn as part of an ongoing cooking class at Patriot Park in Greenfield.
The class recently met July 23 and made tuna sandwiches. Leading the class is City Council Member Yanely Martinez, who wanted to offer an opportunity for local youth to learn life skills and feel like they could accomplish anything.
“I knew that I wanted to offer it at no charge,” Martinez said, “and have it in a place they could feel save and accepted.”
The first cooking class was held March 26, during which 31 youth attended and received a free apron for participating.
“We make different kinds of food,” said 10-year-old student Jocelyn Isidro. “Afterward, we can eat it and enjoy.”
Cooking student Victor Torres enjoyed making the pancakes and said they tasted really good and easy to make.
“I came to the cooking class to learn how to cook and because it’s something good for kids to do,” said fellow student Santiago Torres.
Martinez is able to provide the cooking class by utilizing her city stipend to purchase ingredients and cleaning supplies for the twice-a-week class.
The class is every Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. unless an emergency arises.
“My favorite part is watching the kids from the groups help each other,” Martinez said. “They know that they are a team and at the end when the meal is ready, everyone celebrates.”
Martinez is planning to host the class year round and moving the young students up to the title of Master Chefs.
The Greenfield Library has also spoken with Martinez about offering a chef’s class for younger children, and Martinez would like to include senior citizens in her cooking class offerings as well.