LIFT Enrichment came to be in 2010 when Eric Horwitz decided to start an after-school program taught at schools with a focus on teaching kids about healthy cooking.
Life Growing Up in Southern California
Before that, Eric grew up in Ventura, CA and was driven to go to a good college. He studied hard in school, (and was Valedictorian) played varsity tennis, took lots of extracurricular activities, volunteered with the Boy Scouts and more. However, he never learned to cook! He did spend a lot of time working part-time with kids, at his local summer camp as a counselor or babysitting throughout the year.
He got into UCLA and studied the humanities with a focus on English Literature. His degree required taking classes in a foreign language, so he chose Italian because it sounded nice. Suddenly, Eric REALLY liked his Italian language courses because unlike the stuffy 2+ hour lectures on Chaucer, each lesson was 1-hour with a small group everyday with lots of interaction. He took Italian 1 and continued for a full 2 years before getting the opportunity to study abroad in Italy.
The Trip to Italy
Eric joined a group of peers and got to live in Trento, Italy in the Fall of 2016, right after Italy had won the world cup! Trento is a medium-size university town in the north western part of Italy, not too far from Austria. He took classes at the local university and had a memorable time travelling to other cities in Italy including historic Florence and Venice.
His parents sent him, as a gift, his first cookbook: Jamie Oliver’s “Italy” and he made dishes from it like Classic Risotto Bianco, Pan-Seared Swordfish and Tomato-Basil Bruschetta. Without must real culinary training, Eric simply followed the recipes and his friends that he cooked for enjoyed the results. A love of cooking was born!
After the New Years, he transferred to Padova, a beautiful University town near Venice, where he lived with an Italian family, the Valeriani family. The matriarch, Simonetta, had a true passion for cooking and made a three course lunch and dinner everyday. Eric studied how she made incredible Pasta alla Carbonara or Roman Chicken. Simonetta was from Rome, and brought that classic Southern Italian warmth and hospitality to her house AND her cooking. Life was good for Eric, taking classes at the university and visiting nearby countries like Germany, Belgium, Spain and France. He continued to learn from Simonetta and cooked more Italian dishes, much to the delight of his friends.
Back to the States
In the summer of 2007, Eric was back in Los Angeles and continued his newfound culinary skills. He learned to make Italian classics like homemade pizza and tiramisu plus explored more exotic dishes like Peruvian Lomo Saltado or Japanese Sushi.
He graduated UCLA with two bachelor of arts degrees in English Literature and Italian Language. Originally, he planned to be a journalist, and got a job in public relations, but after 6 months the 9-5 was not a good fit. He then got a part-time job working at a local private elementary school in Santa Monica working for their afterschool program from 3pm-6pm. Twice a week the after-school program offered cooking classes for kids, and Eric shared his love of cooking with young students, watching as they enjoyed making baked pasta, Parmesan frittata, classic meatballs and more!
Journey Into The Enrichment World
Soon, Eric got a job as the director of an after-school studio in Pacific Palisades. He taught everything from drama to Lego robotics, and saw that parents would drive their kids to a location for an after-school program, but these same programs could easily be taught directly at schools, making it very convenient for parents.
In 2010, he decided that he could run his own business, focused around healthy cooking, that was taught at local elementary schools. He taught a 1-hour class 5 days a week at local elementary schools, and life was good working for himself.
However, he wanted to help more kids, and couldn’t do that on his own. He started to hire and train Chef Teachers with a unique focus on the principles of an excellent cooking class that he developed in the classroom. Eric built a system that made cooking fun, efficient, safe and engaging.
Later in 2014, his classes were taught at over 50 schools and he rebranded his program as “LIFT Enrichment” with the “LIFT” standing for “Learning Is Fun Time”
The popularity of the program grew, and in 2017 he brought on more full-time staff. With the help of an Operations and Sales team, his cooking program expanded. Besides servicing Los Angeles County, he expanded into neighboring counties like Ventura and Orange.
By 2019, LIFT Enrichment had a sizable internal team, and over 50 Chef Teachers who instructed at 160+ schools all the way to San Diego. His classes were taught to over 5,000 kids a year! Kids loved learning to cook and parents saw their children helping in the kitchen at home and wanting to make healthy meals.
In 2020 and beyond, Eric’s focus has continued to broaden, with LIFT Enrichment expanding to Northern California and nearby states. With a big vision to change the lives of 1,000,000 students by 2029, the future is bright for Eric, his dedicated staff and team of passionate Chef Teachers.