In 2000, Danny Corsun began teaching in Santa Monica, California’s acclaimed Franklin Elementary School. After the first few weeks, Danny concluded, as most teachers do, that while his students were a group, they were vastly different from one another. Each had their own personalities, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. They were truly individuals, and as their teacher, he could either teach them all in the same uniform way that he was taught as a child, or he could recognize them to be the “differentiated learners” they were and take a more unconventional path to positively impact their lives. Being the rebel he was, Danny chose the latter and the rest in history.
As a closet chef, Danny naturally looked to cooking to bring out the best in his students. It was this decision that gave birth to the beginnings of what would ultimately become “Culinary Kids Academy.” Over the next five years, he supplemented his conventional classroom curricula with unconventional cooking workshops. Lessons that not only incorporated State/Common Core academic standards, but concentrated on boosting self-esteem and social skills. The results were remarkable!
The academic performance of Danny's students improved as a result of this almost-stealth teaching approach. That is, they were having so much fun, they didn’t even realize they were efficiently and cognitively processing the academics being taught. Socially, the improvement was even more radical! His shy students came out of their shells and gained incredible confidence, communication barriers were broken down, and children became friends.
Finally, his once finicky eaters began experimenting with new foods. By being given a stake in the process, they were more apt to reach outside their comfort zones to introduce delicious and nutritious foods to their diets. Not only were the students excited about this, you should have seen their parents!
In 2005, Danny decided to bring this profoundly impactful program to as many children as he could, so he traded in his own classroom for the thousands he gets to visit as a full time CKA Cooking Coach - and what did Danny learn? The CKA experience has led him to the conclusion that cooking is an incredible way to reach children nutritionally, socially, and academically. Whether they be four or fourteen, shy or outgoing, “A” students or struggling, focused or distracted, the approach he's cultivated brings out the best these wonderful young people have to offer. The journey to Culinary Kids Academy has been eye-opening and rewarding. Danny looks forward to bringing the program to as many children as possible – because nothing gives him greater satisfaction than feeding the hungry young stomachs and minds of CKA students!