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Fanjoy Cooking Up Change: Culinary Counselling Improving Mental Health for Youth

SDG Cities Academy Alumni Spotlight

The pandemic was tough. Disruptions to work, social life and community activities led many to feel increasingly isolated, lacking the important connections that are so needed. For children and young adults in particular, the pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health. Now more than ever, programs that address growing mental health challenges and help set youth up to live healthy lives are essential.

Chef Pam Fanjoy, who is also an experienced child and family therapist, uses an innovative culinary therapy approach to help address social isolation and complex mental health challenges faced by youth. While her work with youth began long before the pandemic, new challenges and opportunities to support youth and families have emerged over the last few years.

Fanjoy has been delivering programming for many years using a social enterprise model. Exploring new opportunities, Fanjoy has launched Fanjoy Cooking Up Change, a new nonprofit that will use food, interactive cooking classes and counselling to improve mental and physical health across the lifespan. Fanjoy Cooking up Change has just recently announced that their new Headquarters will be located at Fanjoy’s Hillsburgh location where her restaurant used to run. Fanjoy has plans to renovate, creating a new culinary studio and fundraising event space that is fully accessible which will be created in the coming months. Chef Pam joined the SDG Cities Academy in January 2022 to learn about how the SDGs could be a foundational element in her work to develop a new nonprofit and to learn from other organizations in the community as they prepared to launch into this new space.



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