Kysha Rooks column: Teen cuisine student interested in culinary arts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 19, 2022

By Kysha Rooks
N.C. Cooperative Extension

Christie Chea is an eighth grade student at Knox Middle School. She participated in a six-week one hour nutrition class I taught for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program. EFNEP/Teen Cuisine is designed to teach youth from grades 6 to 12 important life skills to promote optimal health — both in the present and the future. The curriculum addresses key concepts about nutrition, food preparation and cooking, food safety and physical activity using approaches and strategies that enhance learning and behavior change among teens.

EFNEP has developed a great partnership with Knox Middle School, Principal Michael Courtwright and health teacher Sandra Mitchell since September 2021. Chea was born here in the States, but her parents are natives of Liberia. She states her passion for cooking and baking was instilled by her mother at a young age. She remembers waking up to the smell of different smells of spices and aroma which she uses as well. Chea said cooking is therapy and gives her a since of relaxation and peacefulness. Her favorite dishes to cook is baked smothered chicken and mac and cheese. She said this class has taught her about proper knife skills, food safety, nutrition fact labels, healthy recipes, team building and increaseing physical activity. As she enters high school, she hopes to continue her passion for cooking, obtaining a culinary degree and eventually open her own international restaurant that serves many ethnic backgrounds.

Kysha Rooks is an EFNEP educator for the Rowan County Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8990 or

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