Have a budding Bobby Flay or Paula Deen on your hands?
In Milpitas, the every first and third Thursday of the month. And this offers a fun event for kid chefs.
But perhaps you want to further your child's epicurean curiosity and heat things up this summer by enrolling him or her in a cooking camp. Kids can learn a new appreciation for the foods they eat as instructors emphasize creativity and teach patience, organization, and perseverance by exploring the culinary arts–valuable skills they can use in other areas of their lives for years to come.
These junior chef academies offer step-by-step interactive demonstrations to teach students to prepare breads, appetizers, desserts, entrees, pastries and more.
Cucina Bambini, 3 years and up – San Jose
Kids experience the joyful side of the kitchen at Cucina Bambini through their 5-day hands-on cooking sessions and their drop and go programs afford moms a great escape.
Shelley Ballard owner of Cucina Bambini believes in “Cooking Fun for Everyone”, and her school caters to kids of all ages. Ballard, who taught elementary school for 20 years, combined her experience working with kids with her passion for cooking, and started Cucina Bambini three years ago. Ballard believes food and learning are interlocked and “nothing beats spending time in the kitchen”.
Ballard prepares quick and flavorful menus that teach students knife skills, basic prep skills and encourages students to explore the capabilities of the kitchen. This summer, Cucina Bambini offers a variety of camps that focus on cuisines from around the world through her ‘Lil Chef’, 5 Days Around the World and Teen Essentials. Camps meet daily for 2.5 hours and are $210. Cucina Bambini also offers one hour drop-in classes that start at $20. To fully appreciate their varied offerings for up and coming chefs visit their website at cucinabambini.com.
Creative Chefs, 8-14 years – Fremont
The City of Fremont presents ‘Creative Chefs’ a hands-on workshop dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of the kitchen by encouraging experimentation. Ellen Shultz a culinary professional who has a degree in Food and Nutrition has taught for the City of Fremont for nineteen years says the most rewarding part of teaching is developing their self-esteem. “Kids can’t wait to share what they make with their families”. One year her students prepped a hearty and satisfying meal of stuffed shells that the kids took home and baked to reinforce what they learned in class by sharing their dish and their experience with their families.
Shultz’ camp starts of the week with quick breads like muffins, scones and biscuits then moves into entrees like tacos with homemade tortillas. By week’s end the kids are preparing desserts and there’s always enough to take home. Shultz’ systematic approach brings kids in touch with the foods they eat by allowing them to “taste as they go”. It teaches them that each food has its own unique flavor. ‘Creative Chefs’ is being offered throughout the summer and a few spots are available for their next session which will kick-off June 27 and costs $195 per student. Classes for the younger set are offered throughout the school year. Contact the City of Fremont at 510-494-4322 for registration.
Young Chef’s Academy, 5 years and up – Sunnyvale
“Real Cooking Real Fun” is what kids will experience at Young Chefs Academy a national chain of cooking schools located in Sunnyvale. Chefs in training can hone their skills in one of their three specialized cooking camps, ‘Bakers Delight, Top Secret Recipes and Cooking Around the World’. All feature fun-to-prepare menus like Fabulous Foccacia with kalamata olives, Grissini, and Layered Brownie with Vanilla crème and chocolate glaze. Menus are “healthy and appealing to children” says cooking instructor Judy McMahon. Now entering their fifth year, YCA camps introduce students to proper food handling, kitchen safety, presentation and table setting. “Kids learn to use all the tools”, says McMahon and kids work in teams led by Chefs Joe, Lucy, Crissy and JR at one of four prep and cooking stations to handle every aspect of the process from chopping vegetables for a mixed vegetable frittata to preparing dough for a sweet potato streusel bread.
Chef Judy starts of each day with a recap of what they have learned and kids share what they have enjoyed the most as she introduces them to what they will prepare for the day. After orientation kids wash their hands and break into groups where they chop, sauté, and knead their way through the planned menu. At day’s end students enjoy an assortment of dishes and agree to abide by the “two-bite rule” to sample what they have prepared. “If after two bites you decide you don’t like it you can throw it in the trash, no questions asked”, says the instructor. The academy has found this approach very effective and it encourages students to try a variety of foods prepared in different ways.
YCA accommodates dietary restriction such as allergies and vegetarian menus and when possible will opt for healthier options such as whole grains, less sugar, less salt and olive oil. Camps costs $250 or drop-in for a day at $60. Classes are offered throughout the summer, there is still space available for Top Secret Recipes and Around the World. Visit their website at youngchefsacademy.com to register or to review their sample menus.
Whole Foods Market Culinary Center, 5 years and up – Cupertino
Cook with a purpose. Whole Foods hosts a culinary cooking camp for kids that support healthy eating habits. Hands-on classes are led by culinary director Jamie Westby and are held in their state of the art kitchen in Cupertino. Kids will discover how to prepare fresh innovative dishes inspired by various cooking traditions. The culinary youth camp will sample cuisine from around the world like Ethiopian Beef Potato Salad with Lemon, Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Chicken, Creole inspired Beignets with Chicory Chocolate Sauce and Brazilian Salada Mista to name a few.
Whole Foods Culinary Center sessions at $60 for the week or $15 for the day. Campers can expect to enjoy the trot around globe menus throughout the end of July. For more information call the store directly at 408-257-7000 or check out their website and review their calendar at http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/cupertino.