FORT LEE, Va. (July 12, 2012)- Military Family member Tatyana Magee said she had a deft touch when it came to flipping pancakes, but outside of that, didn't know much about cooking so she attended a cooking course.

"I learned the difference between cooking and baking," she said. "I also learned few things on how to cook and that cooking is a good skill to have."

Magee and 12 others were students in the weeklong EDGE Top Chef cooking class that concluded Friday at the Youth Center.

Koy Grant, the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation partnership specialist, said the class was part of a larger program to provide living skills.

"It's an opportunity for children to gain life skills," she said. "Baking, cooking --no matter what you do in life -- those are things that you're going to have to be able to do in order to survive. Besides that, it's fun."

The course instruction touched on basic cooking skills with an emphasis on baking, said Retired Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Cunningham, the instructor for the course. It culminated in a group-organized, cookie bake-off on the final day. Magee said that was the highlight of the week.

"It was very lively," she said. "I loved the people that I worked with. We worked together and came up with a good product."

Cunningham, who once headed the food service program at the Quartermaster School, said although the course was basic, it was beneficial to the students.

"It was a lot of fun because they learned something in the process," he said. "Any time you can teach a child something then they're better off than they were beforehand."

EDGE, or Experience, Develop, Grow and Excel, is a youth program initiative that seeks to provide learning opportunities in four broad-based areas.

"The idea behind the EDGE program is that we introduce to kids different activities that branch off into other Child, Youth and School services or FMWR programs," said Grant. Activities may include golf lessons, a customized fitness program, fashion design and digital photography.

The next EDGE Top Chef program is scheduled for Aug. 6-10. For more details, call (804) 734-2878.