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Teen Battle Chef, Signature Program

New York, NY


People served since joining the TKC

Member since 2019

FamilyCook Productions’ Focus on Measurable Behavior Change Fuels National Dissemination

In the beginning, an exhausted single parent’s daily preparation of multicultural meals with her young sons was a better way to get dinner on the table and spend quality time. Soon FamilyCook Productions (FCP) was founded and the nonprofit has been a pioneering leader in culinary nutrition education for obesity prevention for over 20 years. Its work spans from preschool aged children through adulthood. By 2003, using a train-the-trainer model, FCP began to embed the capacity for effective nutrition education through hands-on cooking in schools, community organizations, on farms and other settings. FCP’s turnkey, evidence-based and field-tested curricula have been replicated in more than 30 states nationwide, in over 400 partner sites reaching over 300,000 adults and youth.  Additionally, hundreds of FamilyCook recipes are available through Kidney Kitchen, a collaboration of FamilyCook with the American Kidney Fund. 

Contributing to the literature and illuminating best practices is a driving force behind FamilyCook’s work. From the early days of its program dissemination, FamilyCook has partnered with research institutions to ensure program evaluation and behavior change research were integral to its work. Through its signature program, Teen Battle Chef, FCP demonstrated that adolescents could become inspiring change agents. These youth spend a semester learning cooking techniques and new cuisines, culminating in two teams battling it out for the teen chef championship. Richer than the sweet satisfaction of winning, however, is the lasting impact the program has on its graduates. Research shows that 74% of alumni attained and sustained a healthy weight by following program behavior targets and 90% become positive influencers on their peers and families eating behavior. Research published by FamilyCook Productions in 2020 provides a Framework for using 10 Experiential Drivers of Behavior Change specifically for Teaching Kitchens. FamilyCook’s newest program is Deliciously Healthy, a program to support chronic disease patients to better manage their health through an improved relationship with food. This program and associated evaluation and research will have initial outcomes in late 2021. 

Key Data

The FamilyCook curriculum has reached over 300,000 adults and youth.   

Quick Facts


2 Dietitians, 1 Chef / Social Worker, 1 Founder / Project Director

Built-in and pop-up kitchens in community settings


My students were all smiles the entire day. What a great way to gently nudge students out of their comfort zone and experience ideas, cultures, and cuisines that were once unbeknown to them. I love to see the learning process extend outside the classroom!

Teen Battle Chef Instructor


Rothpletz-Puglia P, Fredericks L, Dreker MR, Patusco R, Ziegler J. Position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior: Healthful Food for Children is the Same as Adults. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2022;54(1):4-11. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2021.09.007

Fredericks L, Koch PA, Liu A (Alicia), Galitzdorfer L, Costa A, Utter J. Experiential Features of Culinary Nutrition Education That Drive Behavior Change: Frameworks for Research and Practice. Health Promotion Practice. Health Promotion Practice. 2020;21(3):331-335.

Martin S, Heo M, Jimenez C, Lim J, Lounsbury D, Fredericks L, Bouchard M, Herrera T, Sosa A, & Wylie-Rosett J. Personalizing the Dietary Guidelines: use of a feedback report to help adolescent students plan health behaviors using a SMART goal approach. Child and Adolescent Obesity. 2019 2(1), 47-62. 

Heo, M., Jimenez, C.C., Lim, J. et al. Effective nationwide school-based participatory extramural program on adolescent body mass index, health knowledge and behaviors. BMC Pediatr 2018. 18(7). 

Shah A, Koch P, Wilson C, Fredericks L. Does Hands-On Cooking Instruction Before Adulthood Support Healthy Food Behaviors to Become Lifestyle Choices? J Nutr Behav. 2017,49(7)S1.

Fredericks L, Lin Y, Ektheerachaisakul P. Kids Food Reboot: A Campaign to Reboot What Kids Eat Using Social Media. J Nutr Behav. 2015 47(4S). 

Dukhari A, Fredericks, L Wylie-Rosett J. Strategies to Promote High School Students’ Healthful Food Choices. J Nutr Behav. 2011;43(5):414-418. 


The New York Times Well Blog, “Bringing Out the Chef in Children,” January 2016. 

Contemporary Pediatrics, “Why You Should Target Children In the Fight Against Obesity,” September 2016.

Washington Post, “Advocates Want Restaurants to Stop Catering to Young Diners with Kids’ Menus,” October 2014.  

Cooking Time Is Family Time (1999 William Morrow)

Get Your Family Eating Right (2013 Fair Winds Press)

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TKC Symposium &
Annual Members Meeting

November 13-15, 2024
Salt Lake City, UT

Learn more about teaching kitchen innovation.