January 17

How We Train and Support Our Amazing Chef Teachers

Blog, Business, Cooking Classes, Featured


Chef teaching a kid to break eggs

By Eric Horwitz, CEO of LIFT Enrichment

In this post I went over how we hire our Chef Teachers, but another key part is how we train them to teach at over 250+ schools a week in California and Texas.

We currently have 90+ Chef Teachers and we expect to have more than 120 by the end of 2024.

Once a Chef Teacher is hired and their paperwork is completed they get introduced to

Part 1: The Chef Teacher Portal

The Chef Teacher portal is our online platform run by this very fancy, very state-of-the-art software called…Google Sheets. 😉

It’s a place where we have over 30 training videos (mostly voiced by me) where we go over a presentation on every aspect of teaching a culinary workshop such as

  • Our 10-Point Checklist for a successful workshop
  • 5 Rules of the Culinary Classroom
  • How to shop effectively
  • How to prep at home
  • How to setup your classroom
  • Class management techniques we use
  • How to cleanup
  • … and much, much more.

Next up we have 60 videos, one for each recipe, that range from 4-9 minutes that go over how to make all of our 60 dishes lessons. These go over unique strategies for each recipe, and we’re aiming to film these in HD next year and then send edited versions to our clients so kids can rewatch a quick tutorial on how to make each dish.

Our curriculum spans from Healthy Cooking 101 to 106. Each session is 10 lessons and it takes a client about 2 years to go through all of the dishes. You’ll find all types of dishes from a variety of cuisines like pasta with vegetables, healthy stir fries, black bean burgers, broccoli slaw, cauliflower fried rice, and so much more!

In this Chef Teacher Portal, we also have key forms like the Chef Teacher Weekly Report, instructor manuals, recipes and more.

Part 2: Background Check, TB Test and More Paperwork

To work with schools we run background checks on all of our staff to ensure they have no criminal background and aren’t a sex offender. We get their Covid vaccination report and also a TB Test that’s negative. They get into our payroll software, and are added to the state of California or Texas as an employee of LIFT Enrichment.

Then it’s…

Part 3: The Mock Cooking Class

The Chef Teacher then has to book a “Mock Cooking Class” with our Onboarders on Zoom for about 1 hour.

In this mock class, The Chef will make our first recipe of Healthy Cooking 101: Pasta Primavera with Zucchini, Bell Pepper and Peas live on camera. We’re aiming to see if they’ve absorbed our teachings and class structure.

If they succeed, they’ll move forward. But sometimes they don’t do a good job, don’t prepare, don’t go through the portal, or just don’t seem good enough for our standards. At this point, we part ways, because we only want the best.

Part 4: Receive Chef Equipment and Uniform

Next up we get them their Chef jacket, black apron and key pieces of equipment. We’ll ship it to their home, or sometimes they’ll pick it up from another Chef Teacher. We have tutorials on how to use the electric hot skillet and every other piece of equipment so they can lead a group of 20 students effectively.

Part 5: Assists 2 Lesson (or a Second Mock Class)

Next we’ll have the new Chef Teacher assist a lead Chef Teacher during two different lessons. Now we can see if they can show up to a location on time. We have pre-recorded classes for them to observe on the Chef Teacher portal, but there’s nothing like seeing a real class in action.

Our Chef Teacher who leads the class can also give us feedback to see how the energy was from the new Chef. The new Chef can participate a little bit, help prep and cleanup, but the experienced Chef Teacher is always in charge.

Now you might ask the question: What if you’re in a new area and there are no classes running yet? Or it’s the start of the Fall and there isn’t a chance for a new Chef to assist before they need to teach?

In this circumstance we’ll have them do a second Mock class on Zoom with a different recipe.

Also we’ll try to have them assist a class later in the week if possible.

Part 6: The First Day Review

We have a team of 25 internal staff members from all over the world…but we use zoom very strategically to watch live cooking classes in California or Texas.

We have the Chef Teacher use a camera stand so we can watch their class live on zoom. We aren’t recording, just watching. From this viewpoint we can see their first lesson, give feedback if needed and see how they do overall with our curriculum.

This gives them some support, because a first day solo can be tricky.

We have a 10-point checklist and ensure they go through it all. After the class we’ll debrief.

Part 7: Another Chef Teacher Review

We’ll do another Chef Teacher review of a live cooking class within the Chef Teacher’s first two weeks to see how they’re progressing.

Also if we see any red flags during the first few weeks, we’ll try to fix them or end their contract.

Part 8: Chef Teacher Monthly Meeting and Continued Support

Each month we have a Chef Teacher Monthly Meeting on zoom. This is a fun meeting where we get to see all our Chefs in one place!

We go over new policies, recipe updates and seek feedback from our team.

We’ll also award a “Chef Teacher of the month” for someone who is doing a great job.

Each week we also review the Chef Teacher Weekly Report. This report goes over everything the Chef did last week and asks for feedback when needed.

If a client has any issue or question, we’ll immediately be sure to watch the Chef Teacher’s next class on zoom and report back to the client.

It’s so important to support our Chefs, and work only with the best.

If you’d like one of our Chef Teachers to teach healthy culinary workshops at your Title-1 school district. Book a meeting with our team here.

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Eric Horwitz

About LIFT

Eric founded LIFT Enrichment in 2010 because he wanted to help young kids develop their culinary skills so they could make healthy foods for friends and family for the rest of their lives.  He has worked with kids for over 15 years and enjoys their energy and enthusiasm for learning new things.  Eric studied abroad in Italy while at UCLA and discovered a passion for cooking.  

Eric Horwitz, Ceo of Lift

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