What's cookin', mum?
If you've got a budding Jamie or Nigella trying to nudge you out of the kitchen, then you're not alone. Thanks to the popularity of MasterChef a new breed of mini gourmets are fleeing the playground and taking to kitchens around Australia in droves.
According to Leah Roland, principal of the Bangalow Cooking School on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, whose young protégés recently appeared in an episode of Junior MasterChef, the show has had a positive effect on kids.
"It's made cooking fashionable," says Ms Rowland.
"Cooking vocabulary has now become part of the everyday vernacular with kids saying things like 'plate up' and 'sauté'. Kids are now critiquing their meals in a positive way. Rather than saying 'Yuck, I don't like it', they now say 'I don't like it because of the texture or the smell or the taste'."
Ms Roland, who has been teaching kids how to cook for seven years, says children love experimenting with food.
"Cooking classes can open kids to eating something new and experimenting with their food palette. By exposing them to beautiful seasonal food, more often than not they are more willing to try foods they have prepared, which could be different to their usual food choices. What's more, it's a fun engaging approach."
Want to entertain your mini master chef these holidays? Then sign them up for classes at one of these great cooking schools.
From her base at the historic A&I Hall in Bangalow, Leah Roland runs both two-hour demo and half-day hands-on classes teaching adults and kids how to whip up their own Middle Eastern, Italian, Thai and Indian inspired gastronomic creations. Her popular 'Kids in Kitchen' classes are run in conjunction with local schools throughout the year, with special classes for kids ten and older held during the school holidays.
Well-known for their tasty range of adult cooking classes, the Black Pearl now also offers classes for children aged between 7-13 years. Kids can choose from a variety of classes throughout the year such as Basic Asian for Kids, Funky Cupcakes for Kids and Sausage Making for Kids. At the holidays, crafty mini master chefs can also try their hand at making sweet Christmas treats like ginger bread man cookies, and then jazz them up with chocolate bits, icing and ribbons.
Mini-master chefs in the national capital are well catered for with Canberra's longest-standing cooking school, Cooking Co-ordinates, offering a great line-up of school holiday cooking classes for children aged between 5 and 15 years. Located in The Piazza at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, the hands-on classes led by in house chefs will have kids cooking up a storm.
Located in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern, Gourmet Kids offers 10-week kids cooking courses, for kinder kids (2-5 years) and school age children (5-15 years) throughout the year. The classes run five nights a week after school. Kids can learn how to cook chocolate self-saucing pudding, veggie lasagne and bircher muesli. Come holiday time, they can take part in a range of fun cooking lessons designed to entertain, educate and inspire even the fussiest of little eaters.
Peaceful Gardens Organic Cooking School
The first certified organic cooking school in Victoria, Peaceful Gardens, in the foodie town of Koonwarra, runs special kids' classes every Thursday incorporating storytelling and cooking songs. Kids will have great fun as they learn traditional cooking techniques such as pasta making, bread making, food gathering and preserves in the farmhouse kitchen. Produce used in the classes is sourced from their 60 acre organic farm, including wagyu beef, vegetables and fruit used for jam and preserving. They even offer a class around cooking healthy organic foods for pets. (03) 5664 2480
Sheridan Rogers, the award-winning writer, broadcaster, food stylist and author of Mini Chef: Cooking with Kids
, has conducted cooking classes for adults and children from her home in North Sydney for the last seven years. Under her skilful guidance, children aged 8-12 years are taught how to prepare delicious, wholesome meals using ingredients straight from the garden. Classes are held during the school holidays and the last Friday of the month.
During the school holidays, the Ginger Factory hosts special kids cooking classes for children 8 years and over. With the festive season fast approaching kids can learn how to whip up edible Christmas gifts or cook up a festive storm with a special easy-to-create three-course Christmas dinner. There's also a Kids Mini Masterclass where mini master chefs can learn how to cook tasty treats such as crispy Asian rolls with Vietnamese dipping sauce from scratch during the three-hour lesson.
Have any other kiddie cook suggestions, or have your littlies learned at one of the above? How'd they find it?