Ever since his birth, Nabeel has inspired me to do a lot of things, this blog being the most important and challenging of all. The blog not only serves as my handy cookbook but I also maintain the same for other mother’s who are looking out for some inspiration or references for child friendly cooking.
Something that Nabeel inspired me to do lately is form the Young Chef’s Academy. This basically, is an attempt to introduce kids to the wide world of food by involving them in enjoyable n creative cooking, decorating, serving and eating sessions.
How Young Chef’s Academy was born?
Unlike most kids, Nabeel is not a fussy eater but a big time foodie with sharp (read, demanding) taste buds that accept nothing but the yummiest!
Statements like Wow, chicken! Yummy, Ice-cream! Mumma, cookie! , etc are what I often hear when he refers to images on television, newspaper or even his story books. It is anybody’s guess that he love’s food, after animals, of course 🙂
Not only does he go gaga over the food images and wants to eat the stuff in it but he also actively participates in making them. While I am busy in the kitchen, he pulls and pushes the dining chair (let me inform you is quite heavy for a kid his age to dislocate, this clearly shows his inquisitiveness towards cooking) which he uses to stand on and watch what I am doing. Once his interest is built he gradually moves from just standing to leaning over the counter to mixing and whisking stuff for me.
It is during one such session the thought of conducting light, no-fire cooking workshops for young kids, occurred to me. Thus, Young Chef’s Academy was born.
The next day I quickly took to the laptop and created a document to list down recipes / ideas for the workshop keeping in mind they had to use more of vegetables and fruits so that the kids would be introduced to them and gradually befriend them.
The recipes were grouped according to their level of difficulty and different menus were created for kids between 5 to 12 years of age.
I then marketed the course via hand-bills and social media. Calls poured in, dates were finalized and the workshops were conducted.
I conduct the workshops at my residence, for the time being. A workshop consists of 2 day sessions of 2.5 to 3 hours each. The kids dress up as chefs, armed with recipes and (a lot of) enthusiasm. Depending upon their age the dishes are prepared…. for e.g. the younger ones get readymade cookies n cupcakes which they learn to decorate while the older one get to bake these items from scratch. Complex steps like chopping, blending etc are part of the older kids workshop while young kids learn to measure, mix and blend during theirs. The kids have small breaks after each dish is ready so that they sit and eat together. This step helps form the good habit of sharing and responsible eating. Also, the fixed menu per session helps children understand meal planning and food pairing.
Most moms have got back to me saying they are happy that their child is eating vegetables without making a fuss. The grumpy faces and dramatic actions have now changed into smiley faces that enjoy every morsel of the food they prepared.
Mothers are content that their energy is channelized into something creative and informative.
Till now the response has been satisfactory with a few students doing more than 1 workshop and keen to do more. However, I am looking at taking this to another level by conducting kids cook offs, cooking play dates and chef birthday parties.
I shall continue to post the progress and latest happenings of Young Chef’s Academy on the blog.
Till then, love Being a Mommy!