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Volunteer Spotlight: Chef Palak Patel

June 1, 2017

Since 2013, Chef Palak Patel has been volunteering with Project Sunshine by bringing her exceptional cooking skills to Sunshine Chefs programs with children and families, and donating her time and expertise to raise important funds for the organization. Palak is a chef, TV personality, writer, and one of the food industry's rising stars appearing in shows like Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay on Food Network. Not only is Palak a master of manipulating the flavors from the communities she has traveled to worldwide, but she is also an engaged citizen who is dedicated to bringing healthy recipes to children and families in her own community.

When asked what initially drew her to Project Sunshine, Palak says, "As a chef, I wanted the opportunity to impact children at a young age about the importance of cooking. To me cooking is caring! When I started volunteering with Project Sunshine, I quickly began to see the small impact I had on the kids and young adults about their perspective on food and nutrition." She became involved with the Sunshine Chefs program where kids and families prepare fun, nutritional meals together with volunteers. Through this program, Palak has been able to share some of her recipes and cooking techniques with families and children who are then able to bring these healthy cooking tips and delicious recipes back to their family's kitchens.

Palak recently took on the role of Project Sunshine Ambassador, and has already developed new recipes for the Sunshine Chefs programs to use nationwide. Her masterful use of spices and bold flavors is sure to spark curiosity and excitement in many aspiring young chefs. Palak continues to volunteer with Sunshine Chefs programs, and to say that her presence is a hit would be an understatement. The life and excitement she brings to the children and families through her cooking is what makes her such a special and beloved volunteer with Project Sunshine.

When Palak describes what makes Project Sunshine special to her, it's all about the children. "Every opportunity I have to work with the kids, I am constantly reminded of why I do the work I do, why I'm passionate about food, and why I want to instill good eating habits early on amongst the communities I am involved in. Project Sunshine not only brings smiles to the kids while they are recovering, but also plays a crucial role in helping kids develop coping skills for when they return home."

More Volunteer Stories of Interest

Sports Illustrated model, Damaris Lewis, volunteered for her second year as a Project Sunshine Dance Camp instructor to empower young women through dance.
Emilio Delgado, who has played Luis on Sesame Street for 40 years, brought sunshine to pediatric patients at Mount Sinai´s KidZone as part of Project Sunshine´s Book Club

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