All too often, calling in dinner from the local pizza joint or fast food restaurant sounds easier than buying ingredients and preparing a meal at the end of a long work day. In modern times, despite the proliferation of celebrity cooking shows on cable television, Americans are cooking less and less and relying on sodium- and- fat- laden “convenience foods” instead.

Peter Berley, former executive chef of New York City’s restaurant Angelica Kitchen, is on a mission to hone the cooking skills of oven-ignorant individuals across the tri-state area. Held in North Fork, Long Island, Berley teaches small groups of students not only how to cook, but why to appreciate the sacredness of local, organicand natural ingredients as well.

“I hope my students take away inspiration, encouragement, and energy to go back home and to continue developing themselves as cooks,” Berley explains in an interview with Organic Connections. “I hope that they’ll cook for friends and family and help nourish other people. Individuals can make a huge impact on our culture, and one by one I’m just trying to influence people in a more positive direction than the way we’re currently going.”

Read more in Organic Connections.