Our daughter who’s nine has expressed a long-time interest in all things culinary. She’s a little foodie who will eat just about anything and her food knowledge exceeds that of most adults. She is an avid watcher of Cooking Channel, Food Network, and especially loves The Greatest British Baking Show. Her dad is a classically trained chef, and she has taken classes locally, but the kids didn’t get to do very much in our local classes because of the teacher-student ratio. She desperately wanted to do something more hands-on.
One day when we were at Whole Foods in Nashville, we picked up a schedule of cooking classes and enrolled Anna Claire in an Easter treats class. We were so impressed with how much kids were allowed to do during this one lesson, and there was almost an instructor per child. She loved it and learned so much, we signed her up for the weeklong summer camp.
It was a financial sacrifice for our family, but when the interest, effort and passion is really there, and the doors open to meet it, we find great value in that. We always want to support both girls in any way we can to achieve their goals and dreams.
Cooking class day 1: Anna Claire got to grate, zest, use serrated knife for the first time and pan-sear.
Today’s theme was picnic. The kids made a potato salad all by themselves. AC said it was very similar to the one we make but mustard based. They diced the potatoes, grated the carrot, and all that. She raved about the corn on the cob with chili lime butter and she especially loved the tomato and manchego tarte.
Cooking class day 2: Today’s theme was party. Anna Claire was so excited to tell us about the mini meatloafs they made using muffin tins. They layered biscuit dough, ground beef, shredded cheese and ketchup. She is confident she could recreate this solo, and the instructors let her make the meatballs.
Cooking class day 3: AC asked to arrive early because she gets to help set up and with the mis en place. She said they had smoothies for them when they arrived – mango/pineapple/spinach.
Today’s theme was breakfast. They made monkey bread using the same pizza dough recipe they used before- glazed in simple syrup and rolled in cinnamon sugar – she goes to bring some home and they were delish!
She was excited to explain that the kitchen has a special proofing drawer that cuts down the time it takes the dough to proof.
She also said all of the ingredients they used came directly from the Whole Foods store so that automatically raised the quality of the outcome.
They made parfaits, sausage balls, hashbrown nests (with eggs, cheese, bacon, red bell pepper.) Anna Claire said the teachers asked her to demonstrate dicing the red bell peppers because she did such a nice julienne.
Cooking class day 4: AC has been the most excited about this day! They got to make homemade pasta and called in an expert pasta maker to be the kids’ instructor. They made two pastas: pappardelle and tagliatelle. The kids were able to use the pasta machine and AC is begging for one. She does have a birthday coming up…
Cooking class day 5: The theme was luau and also AC’s graduation. They invited parents to come in for an extra half hour at the end of class for a tasting of all they made. The kids prepared kabobs with pineapple and chicken. The teachers said they were a little grossed out handling the raw chicken and putting it on the skewers. They also made a macaroni salad, fruit salad and chocolate coconut pie.
I have been so impressed with this program. The kids literally have done all of it. I even see them cleaning the tables and tending to the dishes when I pick her up each day!
The age range of this camp is 7-9 and she is 9, but will be 10 at the end of this month. There is a camp for ages 10-12 but she wants to wait and do it next summer.
Photo Credit📸: Salud instructors