Taste Quest: cooking with Nashville’s kids

By Rachel Rowney on 22nd Oct 2019

Taste Quest is a Nashville-based, nonprofit, food magazine and app that aims to make cooking both fun and educational for children.

For Emily Capo Sauerman, the founder of the nonprofit organization Taste Quest, her love of food started very early on. “I first caught the cooking bug when I was 12, so I decided (ambitiously) to recreate my favorite pasta dish from a local restaurant. I came close, and the experience intrigued me,” she explains. “Over the next many years, my sister and I learned to cook from magazines. Learning to cook is a process that never really ends, and I love that about the craft. I’m still learning all the time and having a ball.”

Emily launched Taste Quest in 2017 to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for cooking, as well as encourage children to understand the importance of nutrition. “Everyone needs to feed themselves and have a basic knowledge of how to do that well – so that they get nutritional balance but also joy from their food. Taste Quest comes out of the question of how to motivate kids to initiate building cooking skills, especially if they aren’t already that interested.”

Emily’s professional life has helped in running the venture, as she has experience working in communications with nonprofits and engaging with communities. She understands the power that these communal experiences can bring to families. “For me, one of the coolest things about cooking is the tangibility of it, the fact that it creates something real and useful. Taste Quest capitalizes on this by encouraging kids to cook and experience multiple ripple effects of real impact: they get to nourish their bodies, their families, and their communities all at the same time.”

There have been numerous studies that show the effectiveness of children using ‘play therapy’ to learn vital life skills. For Emily, making food fun is vital to engage with young people. “Taste Quest motivates kids to learn through play-based educational material; all of our content takes the form of games, stories, experiments, and crafts so that our participants tap into the positive psychology of play. This means that a problem becomes a puzzle, and an obstacle becomes a challenge to overcome. Play approaches new tasks with optimism, curiosity, and drive. In short, good things come from playing with our food.”

Taste Quest currently has a board of five directors, and several volunteers to work with the children involved in its growing number of programs. “Each of our after-school programs works with groups of 10-15 kids at a time. Our last scavenger hunt had 50 participants.” For Emily, there is one core ethos behind Taste Quests: “We hope to see kids building healthier relationships to food while taking an active role in helping neighbors in need.”

How can the community of Nashville support Taste Quest?
“We are currently raising funding to get our magazine off the ground. Your donations would help make our play-based food content a reality! We are also always recruiting volunteers and partners. Last but certainly not least, play with us!

To find out more, visit www.tastequest.org

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