The Incredible Chef Char
Thanks to a 3-year grant through the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Project HOME’s Stephen Klein Wellness Center (SKWC) partnered with the Health Federation of Philadelphia to address cardiovascular health and prevent its’ devastating effects for members of our community. This brought the incredible Chef Char Nolan, a certified plant-based chef and certified food literacy instructor to the SKWC. Chef Char offered hands-on, plant-based cooking classes for an entire year.
Friday’s “Healthy Hearts” classes featured original and delicious recipes like carrot dogs, deviled potatoes, and vegan “cheese” sauce. However, the lessons went beyond recipes in Chef Char’s kitchen. Participants learned basic kitchen safety, infection control, and the health risks around using salt, sugar, and oil – so all of her recipes were prepared without them.
In her classes you would see participants, with sleeves rolled up, chopping vegetables, rolling dough, and stirring sauces. Chef Char’s sense of humor and relatable approach built a strong sense of community and forged long-lasting friendships in and outside of class. She has a way of “meeting people where they are” – whether it’s by asking for suggestions or sourcing her ingredients from the local corner store to ensure accessibility.
Besides new skills in the kitchen, Chef Char often provided prizes like kitchen gadgets, aprons and carry-all bags. Participants rarely left empty-handed, there was always something to take home for later.
She has prepared and delivered vegan Thanksgiving baskets for distribution to community residents, prepared drop-in luncheons, and organized celebrations at the end of each session.
Chef Char’s classes have instilled a sense of confidence in the kitchen and empowered participants to take control of their health through food.
Chef Char joins 10 semifinalists who are fighting for important causes that impact the health of our communities. Show your support by voting once a day, every day for Chef Char who is representing Project HOME as a semi-finalist. The three finalists with the most votes will receive donations of up to $15,000 for their cause.