About Coqui the Chef
Coqui the Chef is a fun-loving frog who dons his white chef hat with the intent of promoting healthy eating for children and their families.
Coqui the Chef bridges many cultural and educational gaps through a variety of services that weave together food, nutrition, and environmental learning. Our unique program design, which includes services for children, parents, and educators, encourages children to engage in hands-on food-related activities it enables parents and children to share in the learning process, and it facilitates the enhancement of any part of the school curriculum. Additionally, Coqui is bilingual and offers classes both in English and Spanish upon request.
We Come to YOU
We commute to schools, centers, health clinics and organizations with our mobile kitchen and food, ready to teach or demonstrate recipes.
Our Social Mission
We partner with organizations who share the mission to improve resources in low-income communities where healthy food is not readily accessible and where residents often suffer from high rates of diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and asthma.
Our partners include Amercian Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, South Bronx Police Athletic League, Cook for Your LIFE, Bronx Health Reach, Bronxworks, Food Arts Center a division of FEDCAP, Dept of Education (DOE Vendor) and Citizens Committee for New York City. We're Minority and Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE).
Coqui the Chef's Educators
Tania Lopez is the founder of social enterprise Coqui the Chef. She is a chef instructor with New York State Licensed Teacher Certificate, health educator, and amateur puppeteer. Tania offers a variety of educational services blending food, nutrition, and environmental learning through the fun-loving character: Coqui the Chef. She also collaborates with organizations in the South Bronx who want to build communities with better overall food quality. She studied Culinary Arts and Dietetics and Nutrition Science to enhance her knowledge of food and was awarded Les Dames d’Escoffier Scholarship.
Lopez, has appeared on Newspaper, TV and Radio Networks such as
The Latin Kitchen named one of the 6 Female Chefs Rockin' NYC's Restaurant Scene
Bronx, New York News Channel 12
New York WPIX Channel 11
TLC's show "What Not To Wear"
ABC's show "The Chew"
New York WNYC radio "Last Chance Foods" with host Amy Eddings and "Sporkful" with host Dan Pashman
Recognition and Awards:
2018 and 2017 Best Cooking Teacher in New York City
2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 Citizens Committee for New York City Neighborhood Grant
2016 Casita Maria Center for the Arts and Education For Service and Commitment to the After-school Program
2015 Osborn Elliot Award for Community Service from Citizens Committee for New York City
2013 Award of Appreciation from the South Bronx Police Athletic League for cooking initiatives (NYC)
2012 American Heart Association New York City Community Impact Grant
2012 Guest of Honor at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Chris Ackerman is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to New York City in 2006 to expand his culinary horizons. He has proudly held titles such as General Manager, Director of Catering, and Director of Mobile Food Operations. In 2010, Chris partnered with Coqui the Chef. Propelled by the visionary leadership of CEO Tania Lopez, Chris, and Coqui the Chef have hosted cooking demonstrations, educational workshops, and youth cooking classes all tailored to inspire the community to live healthier lives through enjoying delicious and nutritious meals.
As a recent Masters recipient from Rutgers School of Public Health, he coordinated a healthy corner store initiative in New Brunswick, New Jersey and currently is a researcher at the Center for Tobacco Studies. Chris prepares menus inspired by the culinary traditions of Italy, Eastern Europe, India and his absolute favorite, Puerto Rico.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Fiorella Meija, Parent Coordinator for the Bronx PS 335
The Academy of Arts
“We invited Coqui the Chef to come and host a Parent & Cooking Workshop. The workshop was a HIT! Parents were grateful for being able to have the time to sit down with their kids and get a cooking lesson with their children”
"City Harvest had the pleasure of working with Coqui the Chef on an event bringing fresh produce to low-income area in New York City”
Special Education Teacher
The students were a mixed of general education and students with special needs. Your organization, preparation, and visual handouts made the facilitation of the cooking classes easy and accessible. The students were able to follow along with your step by step directions to complete the recipes and experience new and tasty foods. You always stressed the importance of cleanliness ad food safety during each lesson. At the end of each lesson, you gave the students important diet and health facts related to their recipe. They looked forward to each workshop.