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A girl stirring a pot.

Dates and Times

June 27–30, 2023, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. daily


This camp is for 11- to 14-year-olds. The program features basic cooking techniques, such as mise en place, knife handling, how to make soup and sauces, safe food temperatures, how to choose fruits and vegetables, meat cooking tips, how to bake bread, and how to make pizza. Each morning, the cooking sessions are introduced by nutrition students who use the MyPlate components—grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein—to compose a healthy plate and a healthy diet. The campers then work together to prepare at least 12 different recipes, based on the focused MyPlate components for the day, that they then enjoy together for lunch, giving them exposure to a wide variety of foods, including greens, whole grains, beans, healthy fats and milk and non dairy alternatives. To help show off their skills, we save samples of our creations for parents to try at pick up.


Each day’s format includes a brief introduction, the nutrition education lesson, a cooking demonstration, active cooking time, and a tasting of all the products made.

Sample Menu for the day we cover Milk and Dairy Alternatives and Proteins:

  • Broccoli Quiche
  • Stuffed Shells with Homemade Ricotta Cheese and Marinara Sauce
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese and Cream of Tomato Soup
  • Crepes with Nutella and Apples
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Strawberry Banana Mango Soy Smoothies
  • Chicken Tikka
  • Jambalaya
  • Chili
  • Black Bean Burgers
  • Ground Turkey Burgers
  • Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa, Corn, Black Beans and Feta
  • Peanut Butter Bars
  • Pasta Primavera with Italian Turkey Sausage
  • London Broil
  • Hummus


The camp program runs from 9 am to 2 pm each day in Room 7 Henderson Building on Penn State's University Park campus. Each day as parents come to collect their campers, there will be samples of all the great foods created that day.

Fees, Registration, and Scholarships


The fee for 2023 Cook Like A Chef is $300 per camper. Both paid and scholarship spots fill up quickly, so early registration is suggested. Click here to register.


Gather this information before completing your child’s registration:

  1. Name of Family Physician
  2. Medical history
  3. Date of most recent tetanus immunization
  4. List of current medications with dosages and time(s) taken

Registration can be completed online:

  1. To register online, click over to our online portal.
  2. If you have problems registering online please call 814-867-4973.
  3. If you prefer to register via a printable paper form, please email


Scholarship applicants must either receive SNAP benefits or free or reduced school lunches. To apply, please use this link below to complete a short application. All applicants will be notified via email of the scholarship decision. Those awarded scholarships will be provided a promo code to use at registration checkout. Questions concerning eligibility? Please call or email Elizabeth Dickinson, Program Manager at

To apply for a scholarship, click here: Cook Like a Chef Scholarship Application

Scholarships are available due to partial funding from the Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Public Welfare (DPW) through PA Nutrition Education Tracks, a part of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To find out how SNAP can help you buy healthy foods, contact the DPW’s toll-free Helpline at 800-692-7462. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the PA Department of Human Services (DHS).


You will receive confirmation by email; if you do not provide an email address, you will receive confirmation by postal mail.

Additional Information

COVID-19 Update

All HHD youth camps will follow all University COVID-19 guidelines that are in place at the time of camp. You can learn about Penn State’s current COVID response and view up-to-date policies and frequently asked questions on the Coronavirus Information site. Anyone who registers before the guidelines are announced will have the option to cancel their registration with no penalty if they choose. For more information, read the COVID-19 Guidelines for Residential Camps PDF.


If your request to withdraw is received at least fifteen business days prior to the first day of the program, you will receive a full refund. Withdraws received less than 15 business days prior to the start of camp will be charged a $50 administrative fee for each withdrawal. Send your written request by e-mail to


For legal reasons, the University cannot release the names or phone numbers of other participants, not even to those who want to carpool.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What ages can participate?

A: The Cook Like a Chef program was specifically designed for children ages 11 to 14. The content is geared to address the dietary guidelines for this age range.

Q: My child is allergic to peanuts. Will this be a problem in the camp?

A: You will have the chance to list any allergies on the medical form and the staff will take every reasonable precaution to make certain that there are no peanuts used in recipes where their use can be avoided. We make every effort to accommodate allergies and as well as sensitivities to wheat, soy and dairy products.

Q: My child is a vegetarian. Will they be required to try the dishes made with meat?

A: No child is ever forced to try anything that he or she doesn’t want to try. The nutrition students sit at the tables with the campers and model appropriate tasting behavior, but no child has to try all the dishes.

Q: What is your policy on refunds?

A: If your plans change after registering your child, you may cancel the registration up to 15 business days before the start of the camp with no penalty. However, cancellation that occurs less than 15 business days prior to the start of camp will be assessed a $50 administrative fee for processing.

Q: How late do you accept registrations?

A: If there is space in the program, we will accept registrations up to June 1; however, please note that the camps typically fill many months before that and interested people will be put on a waiting list for a possible cancellation.

Q: Where will I park to drop off my child?

A: We will provide drop-off information prior to the start of camp.

Q: How should my child dress for camp?

A: Campers should wear closed toed, comfortable shoes, socks, shorts, and a tee shirt that has sleeves. No flip flops or tank tops. Hair must be pulled back if longer than chin length. We will call you to bring proper clothing if your child arrives at camp in clothing that doesn't meet the above guidelines.

Q: What is your cell phone policy?

A: Children are permitted to bring cell phones to camp; however, they will be asked to keep them turned off and stored away during all activities.

Q: What if my child is very particular about what he/she eats?

A: We guarantee that your child will not go hungry. If your child doesn't like any of the dishes that are made each session, we will have some other food options available. Each counselor will be seated at the tables with the campers and will make certain that everyone is getting a healthy portion of the foods.