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New demonstration kitchen at Urbana Park District will provide nutrition education and cooking fun

Look for new nutrition and cooking programs for all ages at Urbana Park District beginning this spring.

The Phillips Recreation Center’s James Room is transforming into a demonstration kitchen. This kitchen will feature an overhead camera with a monitor to enhance the experience for the participants in a wide array of classes.

“We listened to the public,” said Janet Soesbe, Community Program Manager at Urbana Park District. “The public wants more nutrition education and cooking programs that this kitchen is in response to the public’s feedback.”

And, this kitchen is for people of all ages and abilities. “We will have a cooking class for kids. They’ll learn how to make a meal and then share it with their family,” Soesbe explained. “We’ll also have an international food fair in April, a cooking competition in March. The updated facility will be more open and much more accessible for seniors and people of varying abilities.

“And, that’s just the beginning.”

The new kitchen will also give gardeners a chance to shine. “We’re going to have a garden-to-table program this spring and summer where people can grow their own food and then learn how to prepare a nutritious meal,” Soesbe added.

People can look up cooking and nutrition classes at or call the Phillips Recreation Center at (217) 367-1544 for more information. We're also excited to offer the kitchen to small rental groups.

“People belong at Phillips Recreation Center and we are excited to have everyone try out the new kitchen for programs and rentals,” Soesbe concluded.


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