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Chef's Training

Community Outreach

NGI’s commitment to healthy eating extends beyond the classroom.  Our community involvement includes the following:

The Partnership for the Homeless
NGI donated all the vegetables, herbs and spices, maple syrup, olive oil, butter, cream and eggs for the Thanksgiving dinner this organization hosted on November 18, 2011 for 75-100 people.

Wellness in the Schools (WITS)
Along with other restaurants, chefs and schools, NGI is participating in Wellness in the School's Chefs-In-Residence Program. We are partnered with PS 89, an elementary through middle school, in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. On their cafe days, we assist in the cafeteria with prep of new, healthy lunch menus. Chef Instructors Elliott Prag and Celine Beitchman also eat lunch with the kids and talk to them about healthy eating. In addition, NGI has donated 5 cases of extra virgin olive oil for the PS 89 kitchen to use in the preparation of school lunches. 

Demonstrations at Macy’s Marketplace
NGI does seasonal cooking demonstrations at Macy’s to educate the public about healthy eating.

Union Square Greenmarket
From May through November, our Chef’s Training graduates and students conduct weekly cooking
demonstrations. They teach shoppers how to prepare the farm-fresh, local produce available at the market.


4th Annual Taste of Greenmarket
NGI Founder and CEO Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., along with Vice President Merle Brown attended this event that was a benefit for the Greenmarket’s Youth Education Project and supported in part by NGI.

Touro College’s Project Aspire
NGI partners with The Palette Fund in teaching kindergarteners and first graders at PS 197 about vegetables and healthy eating. Ruth Fehr of the Palette Fund, who is a graduate of both the CTP and the NGI Food Therapy Course, directs the project.

Health Corps
NGI is an ongoing supporter of this proactive health movement co-founded by heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, to fight the obesity and mental resilience crisis by getting American students and communities across the country to take charge of their health. Dr. Annemarie Colbin is on the Board of Advisors.
Train the Trainer -- Dr. Colbin contributes presentations for the college grads who, as Health Corps trainers, work in the public schools to increase the understanding of what actually is healthy food.
Fresh from the Garden Gala – Under the direction of Chef Instructor Barbara Rich, NGI students prepared delicious vegan appetizers for the exhibition that preceded the gala dinner.

In-School Program -- NGI collaborated with Dr. Oz on his program to educate public school students about healthy cooking and eating.

The Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders
NGI worked with students and teachers at this Brooklyn high school on a youth-led sustainable agriculture initiative called Growing Leaders Garden Project. NGI volunteers led by Chef Instructors Elliott Prag and Rich LaMarita partnered with the student group to design a healthy menu and prepare hors d’oeuvres for the event.


Park Slope Food Coop

Once a month, Sue Baldassano, NGI Director of Education, conducts food demonstrations with the help of students or grads. The purpose is to educate the public about the value and preparation of fresh fruits and vegetables.

City Harvest Operation Frontline Program
Offered in partnership with Share Our Strength, the leading anti-hunger organization in the U.S., this program consists of a 6-session cooking class series focusing on nutrition education for low-income families. Several of our students and graduates have taught these classes.

Taste of the Nation
We support this annual Share Our Strength fundraising event which is held in over 50 cities each spring.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Under the direction of Sue Baldassano, NGI students conducted an all-day, hands-on workshop for children. Each child was given an opportunity to prepare healthy snacks and breakfast foods.

Just Food – Community Food Education Program
A number of our grads have become Community Chefs at this non-profit organization. Their mission is to teach people how to select, store and preserve fresh produce.

Pathways to Development
The Natural Gourmet developed the curriculum for a 34-week culinary program offered to foster kids.  Using nutritious, wholesome ingredients, the classes were designed to teach kitchen basics such as knife skills and sanitation, as well as cooking techniques to unwed, pregnant teens and unwed mothers living in foster care at New York City’s Inwood House.

Jack LaLanne’s “War on Child Obesity” Event
Led by Sue Baldassano, NGI students conducted an all-day demonstration featuring healthy, easy and fun-to-prepare snacks based on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The Natural Gourmet has proudly given donations to the following organizations:
AMFAR Aids Research
Careers Through Culinary Arts Program
City Harvest
Coalition for the Homeless
Columbia University Rosenthal Center
The Emily Dickinson School
Foundation for International Community Assistance
Global Fund for Women
God's Love We Deliver
Green Guerillas
Habitat for Humanity
Hunter College High School
Meals on Wheels
Mercy Center
The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship
Nature Conservatory
New York Restoration Project
Oxfam America
P.T.A. of P.S. 116
The Samaritan Foundation, Inc.
Slow Food
Turtle Bay Music School
Waterkeeper Alliance
The Weston A. Price Foundation

As of 2011, the Natural Gourmet began donating a portion of the proceeds from our Friday Night Dinners to:
Waterkeeper Alliance
City Harvest
City Meals on Wheels
God’s Love We Deliver
Food Fight
SchoolFood (NYC) Dept. of Education
Blue Ocean Institute
Cornucopia Institute
Central Park Conservancy
Health Corps
The Nature Conservancy
New York Restoration Project
Union of Concerned Scientists
New York City Rescue Mission
Just Food
Food Bank for New York City
Natural Resources Defense Council
Wellness in the Schools
Food and Water Watch

In addition, since January 1, 2011, NGI has donated Friday Night Dinner Gift Certificates to:
LaGuardia Benefit Auction
Heart Share
Emily Dickinson School
Mercy Center
Journey of Hope Gala
Chef's Secrets
Small Planet Fund
Women in the Making Health & Social Summit
Sunrise Day Camp
The East Harlem School

And, we have donated public class certificates to:
The Museum of Arts & Design
NYC Wine & Food Festival
LaGuardia High School
The Holistic Moms Network
World Veg Festival
Hazel Avenue Elementary
New York Women's Culinary Alliance
NEST + m
Food Bank for New York City
PS 183
PS 87
Tree of Life
Animal Care & Control Spring
Bank Street School of Education
JDRF, New York Chapter
Asphalt Green
Lincoln Center Teaching Artists
Habonim Nursery School
East Harlem School
Slow Food Westchester