We love getting kids and teens in The Cooking Studio to help them learn real cooking and baking skills. We teach kids like adults and don’t shy away from “intimidating” foods like soufflés, pastries and hollandaise sauce. Getting kids and teens in the kitchen is not just about cooking! Summer cooking camps begin in June with everything from baking and cake decorating to cooking up USA, French or Italian favorites. Here 10 awesome benefits and reasons to get kids in the kitchen with us this summer:
- Cultivate an appreciation for real ingredients.
Hands-on learning is more effective at teaching anything for all of us and kids are no exception. Getting kids involved in the kitchen has great potential to influence preferences for nutritious and delicious foods. We engage kids with the menu, textures, sounds and sights of cooking with fresh, from scratch ingredients. These experiences can take on a deep-rooted meaning, and they will want to repeat it later in life.
- Broaden the palate.
Cooking together is a fun and low-pressure way to expose kids to new foods, and this can help picky eaters feel comfortable trying new foods. Research shows that when kids are involved in meal prep or cooking, they take ownership and are more likely to eat the foods they prepare. We see many students who have not been exposed to a variety of ingredients (from asparagus to kiwi and even shrimp). We don’t expect every student to love everything we make, but we do ask them to try it and refrain from the usual “gross” or “ewww” comments and instead try to verbalize what they like and don’t like about the food. We love to spend a little time doing blind taste tests in teams. Most students love this, and those that don’t want to participate don’t have to. Watch a fun video from a class here.
- Learn the value of planning and practicing mental Mise en Place.
We teach “Mise en Place” at The Cooking Studio, which literally means “everything in its place”. This is the physical act of getting all of your ingredients measured out and prepped before starting to actually cook. There is also a mental Mise en Place that includes reading over the menu, assigning duties as a team and mentally walking through each step to make sure they have all their equipment, etc. Putting out a meal hot and on time means planning ahead and we help develop this essential adulting skill.
- Express their creativity.
Once the fundamentals of cooking are learned, cooking, and even baking, provides so many opportunities for kids to show off their creativity. We focus on how a dish tastes and presentation, highlighting how flavors and colors go together. When possible, we allow students to make decisions about selecting their own ingredients, plating a dish or adding their own flair to a dish or menu. Cake decorating camps are the ultimate in showing off their creativity – they decide on every detail of their own cakes and get to show this off!
- Build math skills.
Following a recipe means learning how to measure accurately, and it illustrates fractions in a practical way. Need to double your famous chocolate chip cookie recipe? That’s going to require multiplication or addition.
- See chemistry in action.
We have noticed that students are fascinated about the science behind the food. While we aren’t food scientists, we love to share why an egg yolk does one thing when heated or whipped verses an egg white and many other cooking tips. Cooking gives kids a chance to marvel at chemistry in the real world.
- Develop confidence in the kitchen.
Spending on dining out has surpassed the weekly grocery bill. Many adults are nervous in the kitchen and feel it is best to leave it to the professionals. Scratch cooking is becoming a lost art that many lament or wish they had learned. Keep the art of cooking alive by letting them cook at home and learn new (or improve upon) skills in our kitchen.
- Appreciate the chef.
Putting a meal on the table is hard work. Being involved in meal preparation even once per week will make your kids appreciate a home-cooked meal, no matter who prepares it. We see the pride your student experiences when the complete a meal and especially if you are there to taste their final work (although we can’t guarantee they will share).
- Time to talk.
In a busy world of carpools, homework, and after-school activities, cooking together can provide a welcome opportunity to chat with others in a relaxed, technology-free environment. Since we cook in groups of 3-5 there are also great opportunities for teamwork and asking for help from others.
- Fun! Last but not least, cooking is fun! Having fun in the kitchen builds positive memories, good vibes, and good food.
With all the benefits of teaching kids to cook, what are you waiting for? We have full 10 weeks of four day camps this summer from June to August. View the schedule and information here.