Kids Cooking For Life teaches nutrition and inspires lifelong healthy cooking and eating habits through hands-on cooking classes to students, including those from low-income communities and those with special needs. 

Kids Cooking for Life was founded in 2009 by successful entrepreneur and restaurant owner Ted Smith who was dismayed by kids’; growing reliance on convenience and fast food options and the corresponding increase in obesity across the country. Since our inception ten years ago, we have taught approximately 10,000 students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area about the importance of healthy eating.

Kids Cooking for Life’s programs advance wellness in low-income communities throughout Marin County. Both food insecurity and obesity may be consequences of low income and the resulting lack of access to enough nutritious food. More specifically, obesity among low-income people occurs in part because they are subject to the same, often challenging, cultural changes as other Americans (e.g., more sedentary lifestyles, increased portion sizes.) In addition, they face unique challenges in adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors.


Low-income neighborhoods frequently lack full-service grocery stores and farmers markets where residents can buy a variety of high-quality fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. When available, healthy food may be more expensive and has an increased potential for waste (for perishable items). Whereas, refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive, palatable, and readily available in low-income communities.


By teaching young children (from low-income households) the basics of good nutrition and providing them with information to share with their families, Kids Cooking for Life hopes to curb the health challenges that are prevalent in the low-income communities that we serve, specifically in Marin City, San Rafael and Novato.