About Cooking with Kids


Cooking with Kids’ mission is to motivate and empower children and youth to make healthy food choices through hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultures.

Many of us were fortunate to grow up with parents and grandparents, neighbors and friends who cooked and gardened, sharing with us the value and pleasure of food. Growing, cooking, and eating fresh foods became a cherished part of our lives. Bringing healthy foods into the classroom can increase students’ awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of healthy eating. Our experience supports research that finds that children need to be offered a new food a number of times before they accept it, and as such, we work to expose students to a variety of positive food choices while honoring the individual choice and preference of each child.

We believe in being good stewards of our environment and supporting our community. Whenever possible, we purchase locally grown produce in order to support our local economy and sustainable growing practices. Lean more about our work in Santa Fe, NM by reading our 2012-2013 Program Report


Cooking with Kids grew out of the efforts of a local student nutrition advisory council to improve school food. Lynn Walters initiated Cooking with Kids in 1995, based on food acceptance research conducted by Antonia Demas, Ph.D., and inspired by the work of Cookshop and The Hartford Food System. We began as a volunteer effort in two public elementary schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Today, over 5,000 pre-kindergarten through seventh grade students in thirteen schools participate in the program. We are encouraged by the consistent support from public and private sources, Santa Fe Public Schools, and the generosity of the philanthropic community.


Culinary Youth Advocate of the Year Award International Association of Culinary Professionals April 9, 2013 Cooking with Kids is honored to be named “Culinary Youth Advocate of the Year,” an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Award of Excellence. The award was presented on April 9, 2013 at the annual IACP conference in San Francisco. IACP Awards of Excellence recognize extraordinary contributions and commitments to the culinary field.

Piñon Award in Education Santa Fe Community Foundation September 15, 2009 The Santa Fe Community Foundation has awarded CWK with the 2009 Manual Luján, Sr. Award for Outstanding Service in Education. Often called “the Academy Awards for Nonprofits,” the Piñon Awards were established in 1987 and are the only honor reserved exclusively for nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit Santa Fe Community Foundation.

Innovation in Prevention Award United States Department of Health and Human Services November 27, 2007 Santa Fe’s Cooking with Kids, Inc. has been chosen as the national non-profit Innovation in Prevention Award winner by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its efforts in promoting healthy lifestyles in communities. “Cooking with Kids is an example of how health education for children can be interesting and effective,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “The program’s approach to helping children make healthy food choices will provide a strong foundation throughout their entire lives.”

LINC Award (Leadership, Innovation, and Nutrition Collaboration) USDA Food and Nutrition Services September 14, 2005 Cooking with Kids has been honored with the national LINC Award recognizing Leadership, Innovation, and Nutrition Collaboration from USDA Food and Nutrition Services in the category of Partnerships and Collaborations. This award is for projects that use collaborative methods and integrated approaches in planning, developing, and delivering nutrition education involving multiple FNS programs.

Who We Are


Susan Blakely 3Susan Nelson Blakely, Chair Food Marketing Consultant Susan’s career focus has been on working with food manufacturers to market their products to the foodservice industry.  With a master’s degree in nutrition, her early work life was in the areas of nutrition education and communications.  Although Susan is currently retired, she continues to follow her passions of food, cooking, wine and travel.




Jennifer Fresquez 2Jennifer Fresquez, Vice-Chair Jennifer’s love and interest in food and agriculture began with her family business, Monte Vista Organic Farm, in Espanola. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the University of New Mexico. She has worked as a personal chef, food marketer and currently works in her family business as a farmer.




0 Jodi V Photo 23b5d84Jodi L. Vevoda, Secretary/Treasurer Publishing veteran with over 31 years’ experience in the industry, Jodi has led advertising sales operations for a number of prestigious media companies including Conde Nast, Time Inc., USA Today, USA Weekend, Parade and Playboy. With extensive travels, as well an Italian mother and Czech father, Jodi’s passion, and appreciation, for all things culinary began at an early age.



Tony Gerlicz 1Tony Gerlicz, Director Tony Gerlicz has had a 35 year career in education as a teacher and administrator. He was the Founder and Head Learner of the Monte del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe, then Director of the American School of Warsaw. He returned to Santa Fe in 2012 and took a position in the Public Education Department as Director of the Options for Parents, which oversees all the state’s charter schools, home schools and non-public schools. Tony is now very excited to birth an internationally-focused IB school in Santa Fe.



CherylJIMG_2999ABCheryl Alters Jamison, Director Author and Culinary Consultant Four-time James Beard award-winning author Cheryl Alters Jamison has written more than a dozen books on food and travel. She also consults on culinary tourism and outdoor kitchen design. www.cookingwiththejamisons.com






Gloria Zamora, Director Since retiring in 2011, from a 31 year career at Sandia National Laboratories, as a government affairs manager, Gloria Zamora has found new interests and activities. She is one of the Founders of a new non profit in Santa Fe, the Women’s International Study Center and serves on the Board of Directors and as the Chair of this groups’ Academic Advisory Council. Gloria continues to be active in the library and information community, and was named to the Special Libraries Association Hall of Fame in 2013. When she is not working hard at retirement she enjoys cooking, wine education and she indulges her passion for movies and classical music.



Pam G. De La O Educator and recently retired Santa Fe Public School principal, has been in public education for 30 years as an elementary teacher, middle school assistant principal, and elementary school principal.  Four years ago she was appointed principal of Amy Biehl Community School at Rancho Viejo, and was part of building and developing Santa Fe Public Schools only LEED certified school.

Veronica C. García, Ed.D. Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children Dr. Garcia served as New Mexico’s first Cabinet Secretary of Education and was Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools. She has received numerous awards and recognitions including: the National Governor’s Association Award for Excellence in State Government, New Mexico Superintendent of the Year, and the Life Time Achievement Award in Education from Hispanic Magazinewww.nmvoices.org

Diana Gonzales-Pacheco, DCN, RD Bionutritionist Diana Gonzales-Pacheco is the Research Nutrition Manager for the CTSC Exercise Lab and the Metabolic Kitchen at the University of New Mexico Clinical and Translational Science Center. Diana became involved with Cooking with Kids as a parent volunteer when her children were at Nava Elementary school.

Blanche Harrison Nutrition Educator and Retired Dietitian Blanche Harrison has worked to support and facilitate nutritious school meals that children will eat and also volunteers in the areas of arts and culture in New Mexico.

Marion Kalb Food Advocate Events Planner, School Food FOCUS, one of the leading progressive organizations working on school food change. Co-Founder, National Farm to School Network. www.schoolfoodfocus.org

Carla Lopez Community activist and organizer in the fields of law, environment, Native American and Chicano-specific issues, schools, and health, Carla Lopez also served on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education.

Carl Luff, CPA, is co-founder and co-owner of White  & Luff Financial Inc./Raymond James Financial. He currently serves on several non-profit boards in Santa Fe and has been an advocate for education for many years.

Deborah Madison the founding chef of Greens restaurant in San Francisco, is the author of some 12 cookbooks and the recipient of James Beard and other awards. She moved to Santa Fe in l988, helped open Cafe Escalera and served on the SF Farmers Market Board. Deborah now lives in Galisteo where she gardens and writes and teaches cooking. www.deborahmadison.com

Jan Poppendieck is a Professor Emerita of Sociology at Hunter College, City University of New York., and  Policy Director at the New York City food Policy Center at the Hunter College School of Public Health. She is the author of a number of books, including Free For All: Fixing School Food in America, (University of California Press, 2010), which received the 2010 Book of the Year award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society. Jan is a recipient of a 2011 James Beard Foundation leadership award. www.janetpoppendieck.com

Michael Roach Entrepreneur Founder and former president of CleanAIR Systems, Michael Roach received the City of Santa Fe’s 2011 Innovative Entrepreneur Award. Mr. Roach currently advises and volunteers in the areas of green technologies and economic development.

Rick Smith is the chairman and owner of Marrick Real Estate Investments, Inc. and Tanti Luce 221 in Santa Fe, and  has an extensive background in national non-profit management and leadership. Most recently he served as National President/CEO of the American Liver Foundation, and has also worked with the National MS Society, American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society.


Linda Apodaca, Educator
Deborah Barbe, Educator
Bernadette Bartlett, Educator
Lily Chapman, Educator
Anna Farrier, Community Liaison
Abby Ferla, Educator
Gabrielle Gonzales, Educator
Karla Helland, Educator
Cathy Rey Montoya, Lead Educator
Jackie Munro, Americorps Cadre Member
Taylor Osborn, Educator
Rachel Shreve, Operations Manager
llysa Spencer, Educator
Jane Stacey, Program Director
Lynn Walters, Founder and Executive Director

Site Credits: Photography by Lynn Walters, Kate Russell, Genevieve Russell, Jennifer Davidson, and Amy Galanter. Website by Big Swing