iCOOK all started with two friends (Lesya and Olga) passionate about food, cooking and health, who wanted to make a difference by helping children learn to cook and enjoy good food that is also good for them. In 2014, iCOOK was started as an after school cooking school for kids to explore culinary adventures. Lesya and Olga share a philosophy — that food is nourishment, and that if you learn to cook and start with mostly fresh, simple foods, it is easy to “crave” foods that are good for you.
Lesya and Olga wanted to encourage children—starting at a young age– to develop a healthy relationship with food. That relationship starts with preparing recipes, learning where foods come from and being introduced to different kinds of foods, from different cultures.
Lisa is one of our resident culinary registered dietitian nutritionists. She has taught culinary nutrition for many years and helps make sure our recipes are craveable as well as healthy.
While Lesya holds a bachelor of science in finance from DePaul University, her real passion is nutrition. At an early age, she discovered that her body reacted differently to certain foods, and eventually she learned she had a sensitivity to gluten. She became very interested in the science of nutrition and in choosing a diet made up of healthful foods: foods that made her feel good – inside and out. The more she studied and learned about nutrition, the more she realized how helpful it would be to have known this information at an early age. Lesya loves helping children in the kitchen so they can learn to enjoy good food (vegetables, beans and whole grains) and so they can develop a healthy relationship with food right from the start.
Olga holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Dickinson State University and an MBA in finance from the University of North Dakota. Olga’s passion is working with children – helping them with reading, cooking and other life skills. In a way, she combines “math” skills and cooking interests by teaching children how to measure and learn fractions while they prepare delicious, nutritious recipes. She has been volunteering with children for several years with Big Brother Big Sister and at Working in the Schools (WITS), a tutoring and mentoring program focused on helping children with their reading.
Lisa Carlson, MS, RDN
Lisa is our culinary nutritionist/registered dietitian. She has taught culinary nutrition for many years and helps make sure our recipes are craveable as well as healthy. Lisa holds a bachelor of science in nutrition from Cornell University and a master of science in nutrition communications from Boston University. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) with a dietetics degree from the Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Oregon. Lisa’s career has led her down several exciting food paths involving cooking, writing, and nutrition communications. Earlier in her career she wrote about food at Glamour magazine and at COOK’S magazine. More recently Lisa worked in the food industry with a focus on making food healthier, and just as delicious. Her passion is a concept called seductive nutrition – making dishes craveable and just a little healthier using wonderful ingredients.