Summer is in full swing and there are a million different camps and activities available to keep kids busy during their break. Last week both of my boys attended the summer cooking camp at the Cooking Studio in Old Town. It was a great opportunity to get them out and off phones and ipads, while also learning an essential life skill – cooking from scratch.
My kids have been making their own meals for years at this point. Since they were preschoolers able to reach the cereal shelf for breakfast or able to spread a PB & J together, self sufficiency and getting meals for themselves has always been one of the first things we’ve tried to instill in them. Now that they’ve grown a little older, they upgraded from cereal to Sunday Breakfast making waffles and sausage for the family. And on Mondays they’re often in charge of making their own dinner. However, we haven’t tried to level up to cooking from scratch. Until now.
The Cooking Studio is offering a variety of different summer cooking camps for kids 8 to 15 years old. They teach kids as they would the adults, and even bring in local chefs to help assist in the teaching process. Top notch amazing local chefs, I might add. And, they teach them how to make everything from scratch.
The kiddos were in the France and Italy class, learning how to make crepes, pasta, souffle and more. I dropped them off and 9am and went about my workday until it was time to pick them up at noon. On their first day they got right to it making crepes and their own nutella from scratch! I was so impressed!
The week went on and my oldest sent me photos of what they were making – Croque Madame, buckwheat galettes with sauteed spinach and mushrooms and an egg on top, hollandaise and soufflés, gnocchi, polenta and cannolis. Every single one from scratch. These are items I haven’t even attempted to cook on my own, and probably never would have tried to make them with my kids.
Class director Sari Kimbell has years of teaching kids (middle school, to be exact), and brought in Chef Dana DeMarco to help teach the kids in these classes. So they got to learn from someone who has created amazing dishes at some of our favorite restaurants like Cafe Vino, Jax Fish House, The Kitchen, and The Gold Leaf Collective. While it was awesome that my boys learned how to cook from scratch, it as even better that they got a chance to learn alongside a local chef of this caliber.
The kids had a blast the whole week. They were so excited to tell me about all of the delicious things they made on their own. On the day they made soufflés, they talked about making them for the grandparents when they visit, making them for the neighbors, and making them for Sunday Night family dinners.
I asked them what they liked most about the classes. “Eating the food while we make it!” my 8 year-old smiled. “I really liked the teamwork,” my 11 year-old stated. “Is there anything you didn’t like in the class?” I asked them. “Nope! It was great!” they both exclaimed.
While it was nice to get them out of the house and off the couch doing something during their break, I really appreciated that they learned some valuable life skills in the process. And not just the tangible skills of learning from-scratch cooking, but learning how to be teammates and work together with others in the kitchen, and gaining the confidence that they can do what most adults might consider difficult tasks. I think it also gave them an appreciation for eating real foods instead of processed easy items we might eat at home.
I can’t wait for them to make us a soufflé!
When: Summer camps with different topics run each week until August 17th
Who: Kids ages 8 to 15
Price: Each 4 day camp is $275, and a family rate of $500 is available for 2 kids