Chef Andi: Cooking up fresh fare and noshing on nibbles with kiddos? Yup, that’s my job. As a children’s cooking teacher, I create memorable food experiences inside the kitchen classroom. From listening to my students describe how our pesto sauce needs more “umami taste” to watching them gobble up complex flavors in a curried cauliflower, crispy chickpea, fresh mango and spinach salad, I believe kids have an important place in the kitchen. Allowing these young eaters to directly engage in the cooking process can build lifelong confidence and agency with their relationship to food, in such a delicious way! Here are 3 easy ways to get started:
Taste test everything! Encourage your child to taste sauces and dressings, using a small bite of the ingredient it will be eaten with, before serving. Ask them if it needs more sour, salty, sweet, or umami for a well-balanced final product. They’ll love getting to try everything and knowing that their opinion is valued.
Roleplay! Another fun thing I love to do in the kitchen is role play with kids, such as pretending to be chefs in a restaurant. By simply jotting down a list of ingredients, tools, menus, preparation, etc., your little chef will enjoy and take pride in receiving orders and getting everything in place and plated on time.
Use food to teach other concepts too! Baking is a great way to explore chemical reactions or go over fractions with measuring cups and spoons. Practicing a new language is another small, yet enriching activity to do during cooking and eating times. Cooking is one of the most interactive and entertaining forms of learning that we can all do. Why not make dinner as educational as it is delicious?
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