Culinary instructor

Volunteer culinary instructors and University of Minnesota Extension Nutrition Educators share their time and expertise to lead hands-on courses that teach adults, teens and kids how to purchase and prepare nutritious foods in healthful, safe and tasty ways. This can mean the difference between feeding families for just one night and making sure they have the knowledge, skills and resources to prepare healthy meals for a lifetime.

Culinary instructors teach key skills and inspire participants to cook more healthy, inexpensive meals at home.


  • Teach participants basic food and kitchen safety, food preparation, food budgeting and making healthy choices when cooking, according to the highlighted objectives of each lesson.
  • Facilitate class discussions on each cooking or food safety message. Allow participants to brainstorm how they might put new behaviors into action, discuss barriers to adopting new behaviors and share ideas with their peers for overcoming barriers.
  • Assign participants kitchen tasks that allow each individual to gain hands-on practice and improve their cooking skills.
  • Supervise participants in the kitchen, encouraging proper techniques and gently correcting as needed.

Skills preferred

  • Professional culinary training or experience working in the food industry is preferred. We welcome qualified chefs from restaurants and hotels, instructors and students from culinary schools, personal chefs, caterers, home economics teachers, restaurant owners and managers, retired foodservice professionals, etc.
  • Interest and comfort in working with low-income individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Comfortable speaking in front of groups (average class size is 12 participants).
  • Ability to travel to class location.
  • Willingness to be trained on Cooking Matters® curricula, to work as a team with University of Minnesota Extension Nutrition Educator and classroom volunteers, and to adhere to program policies and team decisions.

Time commitment

  • About three hours per week for lesson preparation, travel time, class time, set-up and clean-up.
  • Must commit to all six weeks of the course.
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