Cooking Matters

A group of people around a mixing bowl in an industrial kitchen

The only adult-focused, in-depth food education program in the region.

We believe that food education is an essential step in linking the farm to table disconnect and ensuring that the fresh food we deliver makes it to families’ tables. Our goal is to have a “cooking school in every community”—to enable our nonprofit network to offer the curriculum in the communities they serve.

This course made an impact on our family’s nutritional education. This will help our kids for a lifetime.

UPMC Health Plan logo
Cooking Matters logo

Volunteer for Cooking Matters

Cooking Matters courses are taught by trained volunteer instructors with experience and/or a passion for cooking, nutrition, education, health and wellness. Instructors are trained by 412 Food Rescue’s Cooking Matters staff in the Cooking Matters curriculum and can volunteer as a culinary instructor, nutrition instructor, course assistant, or grocery shopper.

Each course is taught by teams of 2–3 volunteers and is hosted for 6 consecutive weeks at a designated nonprofit partner site.


Ready to get cooking as a Cooking Matters instructor?!

Email to sign up for our next instructor orientation training or to learn more!


Train the Trainer Program

Training 412 Food Rescue’s nonprofit partners to lead Cooking Matters food education courses, focusing on parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5.

Our Cooking Matters Curriculum Partner (Train the Trainer) program allows 412 Food Rescue to expand our Cooking Matters food education programs to our vast nonprofit partner network. Train the Trainer sites are self-sustaining partners and are trained and provided resources to coordinate their own Cooking Matters courses with support and technical assistance. The program is geared towards 412 Food Rescue’s nonprofit partners who receive food donations and want to provide food education to their communities, focusing on sites who serve Cooking Matters priority audience of partners and caregivers of children ages 0-5. This program is ideal for nonprofits with multiple sites and/or nonprofits who want to host courses more than once per year.

Train the Trainer is sponsored by UPMC Heath Plan, with equipment support from All Clad.


History of 412 Food Rescue’s Cooking Matters Program

In 2016, 412 Food Rescue was chosen as the regional partner for Share Our Strength’s award-winning Cooking Matters curriculum. Cooking Matters is a nationally recognized food education curriculum that spans 6 weeks and is designed to “help families to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget.”

412 Food Rescue piloted the Cooking Matters program with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s (CHP) Family Care Connection Centers, using the Cooking Matters for Parents curriculum that focuses on parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5. The pilot program proved highly successful, with an 80% graduation rate amongst nine sites, and we continue to work closely with CHP.

Our food education program has grown significantly to include partnerships with the American Heart Association Greater Pittsburgh Region and Adagio Health’s Power Up Nutrition Education program. Through these partnerships, we are reaching our nonprofit partners across Allegheny County to bring them high quality food education—for free. 412 Food Rescue offers Cooking Matters programming specifically for adults using the Cooking Matters for Parents and Cooking Matters for Adults curricula. We also offer a one-time grocery store tour using Cooking Matters at the Store. 

With the addition of our Curriculum Partner program, 412 Food Rescue will reach 100 Cooking Matters courses and tours taught by the end of 2018.