PHOTOS: HealthCorps Teen Battle Chef at Franklin Lane H.S. (Brooklyn)

Students take part in a weekly cooking club -- "Teen Battle Chef" -- at Franklin Lane High School in Brooklyn, part of the school's HealthCorps program.

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NBC New York
One major part of the HealthCorps program at Franklin Lane High School in Brooklyn is the weekly "Teen Battle Chef" after-school cooking class and competition, where they learn the nutritional values of food and how to cook.
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Nedjy, at left, a 12th-grader, and George, at right, a 9th-grader, are on one team preparing spring rolls. "Cooking class gives the students the opportunity to try new foods," says HealthCorps coordinator Jessica Anders, who runs the cooking class. "They often say, 'I may not like it, but I'll try it.'"
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The menu for Teen Battle Chef changes each week: Students are split into teams of two, and each work to prepare one new dish to make and present.
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Cooking class is not just about learning about food, says another teacher, Ryan Bradley, who helps Anders with the class. Students pick up on the most basic of food preparation skills, like holding and using a knife to cut up food, washing produce and sanitizing food prep environment.
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Sheawnthonie (9th grade), Akayshia (9th grade), and Ashley (11th grade) prepare their team's food, spinach goat cheese quesadillas.
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"The HealthCorps mission aligns with ours in that we seek to teach real-life applications from what they're learning in school," says Brooklyn Lab principal Charles Simic, whose students are part of the cooking class (Brooklyn Lab is housed in the Franklin Lane building). It shows how the material taught in school effects real change, says Simic.
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Anders recently helped set up the school's first garden with the help of community farming organization EATS. The garden can be seen just outside the window from the classroom where the HealthCorps cooking class takes place.
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From left to right: Akayshia (9th grade), Sheawnthonie (9th grade), HealthCorps coordinator Jessica Anders, and Jonathan Wilson, an EATS coordinator who helped the students build their outdoor garden.
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Bradley assists George in wrapping a spring roll.
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George helps Mayra, an 11th-grader, cut up her team's quesadillas.
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Each team presents their food creations at the end of the class, noting the ingredients in the recipe and the nutritional values of each.
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Each cooking club ends with students eating together, each saying what they are thankful for. "I'm thankful for these two teachers who bring us these weird foods for us to try," proclaimed one student.
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"I can give them all this information," says Anders, "but unless you give them the experience for them to want to make the change, [nothing will change]... When you provide these experiences, who knows when they'll click?"
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Left to right: HealthCorp coordinator Jessica Anders; George (9th grade); Aurelia (11th grade); Ashley (11th grade); Keicha (11th grade); Mayra (11th grade); Raymi (10th grade); Akayshia (9th grade); Ciara (9th grade); Sheawnthonie (9th grade); Louic (9th grade); Nedjy (12th grade); teacher Ryan Bradley
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