Cook in the classroom

March 27, 2023

Primary school children in year 6, 7 or 8 will receive cooking lessons at 120 schools across the country this week. TV chef Sandra Ysbrandy kicked off on Monday morning, March 27, in year 6 at the Prince Mauritsschool in Delft.

A total of over 3000 upper secondary students participated, including students from special education schools. Through this cooking class, children learn a lot about flavours and food. This is the fourth year Cook in the classroom has been hosted at schools. This year, the number of schools participating was twice as high as last year.

Few children help out in the kitchen

Children are not often found in the kitchen, according to the latest WUR poll conducted in 30 Dutch school classes. Half of the children surveyed occasionally help prepare food at home. The other half rarely comes into the kitchen to cook at all. "Even though you can learn far more from preparing food than just cooking," says project leader Marlies Willemsen-Regelink (WUR). Through this cooking class, students learn how to prepare a healthy and tasty dish, as well as skills such as reading, hygiene, collaboration and planning."

Healthy food

The most recent RIVM Food Consumption Survey shows that boys between the ages of 4 and 11 eat 99.4 grams of vegetables per day and girls 104.2 grams. This is below the daily recommended amount of 100 to 150 grams (up to 8 years) and 150 to 200 grams (9-13 years). However, there seems to be an upward trend, as the Dutch have generally started to eat healthier. During the cooking class, the students learn how to combine various healthy products to prepare a tasty dish.

TV chef Sandra Ysbrandy

TV chef Sandra Ysbrandy designed a recipe especially for Cook in the Classroom; sushi cups. Sushi is very popular but usually not very healthy. It contains a lot of sugar and salt and few vegetables. That's why Sandra came up with a healthy sushi. This sushi contains all flavours; sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. This makes for a 'rounded' dish. After the pilot cooking class, children responded with statements such as “I also like radishes now!” “By combining flavours, the dish was suddenly very tasty!”

Materials - Cook in the Classroom live and online

Cooks and teachers can use the teaching materials that are available free of charge at in preparation for the cooking lesson. If teachers want to get started themselves at a later time, they can use the online version of Cook in the Classroom. It will be available from March 27. For more information, visit Cook in the Classroom is part of the Smaaklessen curriculum.