Chef in the Classroom event at 120 elementary schools

February 26, 2024

This week, 120 chefs from across the country will offer a cooking lesson to grades 6, 7 or 8. In total, over 3,000 students from elementary, SO and VSO schools are participating. This is the fifth time the programme is running. These cooking classes are held in every province. Students get to work with an enthusiastic cook and learn to make a tasty healthy dish from a variety of ingredients. They cut vegetables themselves, mix, garnish, and they get to bake and grill with the cook. Afterwards, students eat the homemade dish in class. This way, children experience that they can prepare a tasty dish themselves.

Why is cooking with children important?

Advice previously published by the Health Council shows that our way of eating must change if we want to live healthier and in a more sustainable manner. The advice is to eat more plant-based foods than we do now. To change food patterns, it is important that (young) consumers learn about products and also start cooking for themselves. Where does an eggplant come from and how do you make a tasty dish with it? Project leader Marlies Willemsen - Regelink (WUR). “During the cooking class, you can see that not all children have experience with cooking. For example, they find it difficult to cut vegetables. But after half an hour of cooking with the chef, these children already feel like quite a chef themselves!" A recent WUR poll conducted in 43 school classes showed that 17% of children help out in the kitchen every week. Clearly, there is still room for improvement.

The recipe

Every year, a new recipe is created for the Chef in the Classroom event. This year, it is Olé Tabouleh; a salad that includes bulgur, vegetables and egg. The recipe was created in collaboration with chef and cookbook author Ramon Beuk. The ingredients in the recipe are all part of the Wheel of Five. Ramon Beuk gives the recipe a twist. He likes to teach the kids how to grill vegetables to add extra flavour to the dish.

Materials - Chef in the Classroom

Participating chefs and teachers can use the materials available for free at to prepare for the cooking class. These materials are also available for schools that are not participating in the event but would like to cook with a chef at a later date. A cooking video by Ramon Beuk can also be viewed. For more information, visit

Taste Lessons

Chef in the Classroom is part of the Taste Lessons curriculum. Taste Lessons is an effective teaching programme about food and flavour for elementary schoolchildren. With Taste Lessons, children's curiosity and interest in healthy and sustainable food is piqued. Experiencing food is central to the lessons. Knowing where food comes from helps children make conscious, healthy choices. Various studies have shown that nutrition education is more effective when experiential teaching methods and activities are used.

Organisation Chef in the Classroom event

The Chef in the Classroom event is made possible by the national programme Jong Leren Eten and the Food Education Platform. The VEP is a collaboration between government, business and science (WUR). An independent Supervisory Board and Review Committee monitor the policy, independence and objectivity.

The Support Centre Taste Lessons of Wageningen University & Research is responsible for managing the Food Education Platform.