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Part of the SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions Toolkit.*

Teen Battle Chef (TBC) is a direct education and PSE change intervention designed to develop skills in nutrition, cooking, and leadership for participants and their families through cooking lessons, a PSE campaign, ongoing nutrition education, development of youth leaders, and supporting a culture of wellness in partner organizations. TBC includes eight sessions in which participants learn plant-focused recipes and cooking skills to compete in cooking battles. After eight weeks of skill development, the Teen Chefs choose one of four tracts to impact PSE change. The four tracts are bundled with the curriculum license and include School Food Ambassadors (for collaborating with schools’ food service), Special Event Headliners (for ensuring healthy options at School Events), CHEFS 4 Change (program for youth collaboration with local bodegas to support healthy ‘grab n’ go’ options), and Culinary Coaches (teaching other students healthy meal/snack strategies). The Teen Battle Chef LIVE online version allows for online instruction using an online delivery platform, such as Zoom or Google Meet.

TBC School Food Ambassadors have been effectively utilized as partners with school food service to co-develop new school menu items and promote them with demos and sampling. This active collaborative creates peer-driven motivation for more students to participate in school lunch and breakfast, which is easily measured through school food service participation rates.

FamilyCook Productions.
Teen Battle Chef with an drawing of a spatula and a carrot
Funding Source
Gateway Foundation. Ford Foundation. HealthCorps.
Free Material
Cost ($)
SNAP-Ed Toolkit Classification
Evaluation Information

TBC targets middle school and high school students aged 11-17 years of all income levels in a variety of settings. TBC has been adopted in over 200 sites in 26 states, some by SNAP-Ed grants in CA, WA, NJ, NY, etc. The program has also been utilized with ESL and special education populations. This 15-year-old nationally disseminated nutrition education program is based on social cognitive, social-ecological, and self-determination theories. The virtual TBC curriculum has been used by 12 or more community and school settings with several hundred students in NYC as well as via SNAP-Ed in Alabama and Michigan.

2014 Evaluation additionally revealed statistically significant improvements in teaching others; academic success (improved SAT scores, 10% higher than average school attendance) in addition to improved overall dietary quality of participating students. Partnered with HealthCorps to continue to evaluate TBC in over 20 schools in NYC and California from 2012-2015. TBC has over five individual behavior and PSE outcome measures embedded within the curriculum. 

Evaluation Framework Indicators
SNAP-Ed Connection Comments

To use this program, sites must first purchase a license. It is $400 for the curriculum license which includes over $700 of cooking equipment from program cookware sponsor. Each year limited funding for mini-grants is available to cover the curriculum license.

TBC requires participation in tailored facilitator trainings before implementing the program.

From the TBC website: "Now training your staff to bring Teen Battle Chef to your community could not be easier. FamilyCook will debut acompletely virtual training in 3 Parts: 1) Distance Learning presentations; for the basics; 2) Live real-time hands-on culinary lesson presentation and critique using two-way video software-; and 3) Live webinar for program management. Your investment in staff training is not lost when staff leave; your license entitles you to sign up new, replacement staff for virtual training at anytime at no cost. Such trainings are available monthly."

*SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States is a compilation of interventions. The toolkit was developed by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, The Association of SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT), and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the USDA. It is designed and updated to help state SNAP-Ed administrative and implementing agencies identify evidence-based obesity prevention programs and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies and interventions to include in their SNAP-Ed plans.

Review date
Reviewer Initials