Cooking Up Competition with STEM2Fork

Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds Program Continues to Inspire STEM Education in Creative Ways
Sep 3, 2015 11:00 AM ET

When our Connect a Million Minds STEM education initiative launched in 2009, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning was very focused on activities like robotics and bridge building.  However, over the years at Time Warner Cable, we have found ways to make STEM exciting to all students by showing them how STEM is used in all of their favorite activities like sports, dance and cooking.  

Charlotte, NC is a budding food town, with a large culinary institute within our city limits, a growing crop of farm to table restaurants and food bloggers.  With this kind of momentum in the Charlotte food scene, we wanted to bring together an area non-profit with some of the area’s most well- known chefs and create a STEM cooking competition creating the STEM2Fork Kids Cooking Competition.  Time Warner Cable partnered with the Green Teacher Network.  This organization promotes STEM education and food sustainability to students in the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system by helping to create school yard gardens.  Their Growing Entrepreneurs Program is a real world business model that engages schools participating in GTN’s schoolyard gardening project to grow specific crops for restaurants in the Piedmont Culinary Guild.  These restaurants contract with the schools to grow hard to find produce for local restaurants.                                                                                                                                                                                              

This cook-off event showcased four middle schools from different areas of Charlotte that are currently growing produce in their schoolyard gardens.  Each school had to develop recipes in two categories The Science of Soup and the Math of Pizza and identify the STEM concepts used to cook the food.  Our esteemed judges tasted each dish and provided constructive feedback to each team in a setting that looked straight out of an episode of Chopped on the Food Network.  All schools won much needed gardening supplies and seeds to keep their gardens growing.

The STEM in Cooking aspect of the program has become part of the regular curricula for GTN, and will be used for many years to come.    In addition, this inaugural event was so successful and the concept so strong, the Green Teacher Network has chosen to adopt the model to use it as an annual fundraiser in the future. 

STEM2Fork is another way Time Warner Cable has proven to be an innovator in the STEM space.  

To watch a video with all of the highlights, click here.