Local Luminary: Snail of Approval

Cooking for the Family Team: (from left to right) Chef Instructors – LaToya Bridgeman, Leigh Gorman, Mona Bronson-Fuqua, Program Creator/Director – Jamie Stoneham. Not pictured: Chef Instructor – LaTasha Hambrick

““Learn 8 basic cooking skills, create a full meal to enjoy in class, get fresh produce to take home each class, and receive a cooking kit (cast iron skillet, chefs knife, knife sharpener and cutting board) to take home at the end of the five class series. Each recipe learned features a healthy meal that can feed a family of 4 for under $10! The class costs $10 (scholarships available).”

This is what Cooking for the Family has been offering in Over-the-Rhine and other neighborhoods of Cincinnati since 2016, and if you were told to be suspicious of anything that sounds too good to be true, Jamie Stoneham’s Cooking for the Family cooking classes are truly a rare exception to that rule!

If you know Jamie Stoneham, you know she is unassuming and humble, but also driven, creative and persistent. An impressive list of traits that have made her a powerful force for change in the local food scene; specifically with the cooking class series she designed and now executes with her talented team through their program Cooking for the Family. In partnership with St. Francis Seraph Ministries, Cooking for the Family has offered their five class series in multiple locations around the city for the past three years, graduating 70 students last year and on-track to graduate 200 this year. A recent study conducted by Children’s Hospital demonstrated that the “program effectively improves self-efficacy and quality of dietary intake, including lean meats, vegetables, herbs/condiments, and pantry items, thus demonstrating that educating individuals in food preparation and cooking can play a role in increasing their consumption of healthy foods.”

By making the classes both affordable (did we mention $2 per class, scholarships available?!) and accessible, by offering the class series both in Over-the-Rhine at the St. Anthony Center and in neighborhoods such as Walnut Hills, Evanston and Price Hill, the program is overcoming many barriers and providing all the needed tools for a parent to provide affordable, healthy meals at home. This is improving the health and well-being of participants while also building community around the table at the classes themselves, since delicious meals are enjoyed together at the end of every class. Her chef instructors make every class fun and welcoming through their warmth and humor.

It is for these reasons that Slow Food Cincinnati is proud to honor and celebrate Jamie Stoneham, along with the Cooking for the Family team, as our 2018 Local Luminary. Cooking for the Family improves accessibility to good, clean food and promotes fairness by providing the knowledge and skills that make this food attainable for everyone. We honor Jamie for her work and thank her for her many contributions to the local food movement.”  From Slow Food Cincinnati.


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