The new generation loves to cook. We from the older age group grew up with the notion that cooking is a chore – but our children think it’s glamorous. Our children’s cooking IQ are said to have become more sophisticated these days: some already know about the mother sauces – béchamel, veloute, espagnole, hollandaise and vinaigrette, as well as the best way to cut kielbasa sausage as early as when they were five years old. Their knowledge of cooking goes beyond what we know as the normal methods of cooking –pressure frying, steaming and steeping, flashbaking and searing. This evolution is partly because of foodie parents themselves, and also to the emergence of celebrity chef culture.
The kids grew up watching the Food Network, and many of them see cooking as a means to becoming a star. You can actually listen to them argue who’s better – Wolfgang Puck or Mario Batali. If in the earlier days the fastest way to become famous and be on TV is to become an actress, now, children thinks that the easiest way to stardom is through cooking.
And what better way to use up your kids’ summer time than by allowing them to put on their chef apron and join cooking classes or culinary camps. Let your kids act on their dreams of becoming a chef or just simply indulge on a productive hobby.
Cooking classes allow children to experience the ideal balance of theoretical classes in standard classroom setting and practical classes done in actual kitchen labs. They gain knowledge about the basics – pasta, fish, meat, sweets, cheese, wines and so much more. They learn stuff that we ourselves can’t teach them (and yes, they themselves can teach us when they arrive home) – they are taught professional knife skills, how to make impressive tapas and how to make fresh cheese in not more than 20 minutes. Above all that, they get to connect with people who love food as much as they do.
Culinary camps are, of course, more than cooking classes . The children get to learn more sophisticated cooking methods, but for a higher price. But the price is worth it, as culinary camps are known to be experiences that are worth the parents’ money – an immersion into the world of food.
Here, the children learn complex kitchen techniques such as sautéing, braising and simmering. Most children learn a lot, there was even one who mastered how to make mirepoix, tempura and tiramisu. They also learn the difficulties that go with the job, such as experiencing minor cuts when carving artistic garnishes like carving squash roses and apple birds.
They also understand where food comes from not just by learning about it but by hands-on experiences like taking care of greenhouses near their camp place, and raising fish in aquaponic ponds. They are allowed to harvest honey from a beehive and inoculate logs with fungi to grow shiitake mushrooms. They go on quick trips to wet markets and cheese creameries, too. They, in their chic chef apron, get to do all these, although most days are really dedicated to honing their skills in creating masterful dishes such as chocolate éclairs or crab-stuffed prawns. Above all, just like how boot camps go, your children are instilled with the discipline that they need.
And the best way to do all these is this summer – but if it’s too late, you can always plan for next year.