An afternoon cooking with children
The aim of the “Eat Well, Live Well” campaign is very simple – to promote great tasting healthy foods and diets. There is a new generation of foods and products that are emerging that are both excellent in taste and healthy to eat. Our goal is simply to promote great food and diets that will make a difference.
Over the course of the next few months EP will be running features on healthy foods and ongoing trends in the healthy eating sector. In this blog, Philippa Cresswell discusses a worthwhile initiative – creating a passion for cooking at a young age.
As I’ve shared in previous blogs, educating children about the wonderful world of food is very high on my agenda. Engaging children from an early age on the various elements of food – healthy eating, the seasonality of foods, where foods come from and how versatile they can be – if done correctly, can create a passion for cooking and some excellent life skills. Either way we can develop our hospitality professionals or our discerning customers of the future.
So when my six year old daughter asked if she could go to afterschool cookery classes which were being offered by a specialist children’s cookery school, I was both delighted and a little put out (why did she need to go – and I have to pay for something I could teach her myself ?)
A few weeks later after having sampled many carefully prepared and lovingly presented delights – both savoury and sweet, and having read all the information sent home for parents, I asked if I could come along and observe one of the classes. Had I not known that I was going to a children’s lesson I would have thought I was walking into a normal adult cookery class. While the class was composed of six year old boys and girls, there was a high level of professionalism around the subject.
The children get ready to cook – aprons on, hands washed, hair tied back – with full explanation as to why to go through the process. The teacher covers what was made last time (frittata), and the key ingredients they had used, with a clever link to this week’s ‘sweet’ lemon polenta cake.
The lessons are carefully planned and parents know in advance what is coming home for tea, and there is a good communication process for engaging and answering questions from parents. In a few weeks they will be preparing gooseberry tart – I can almost imagine the surprised looks when they see the little green fruit, and then the chatter when they come home and explain what they have made – I wonder how many parents have eaten gooseberries.
It is undoubtedly an excellent opportunity for children – engaging, educational and fun, but my overriding memory will be the noise level – or lack of it considering the trainee chef demographic’.
It’s amazing what can be achieved when a subject is made relevant and interesting.
Philippa has worked in the hospitality and travel industry for 20 years, specialising in brand and concept design, operations and implementation. During that time she has worked for high profile brands including NEXT, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Safeway and the Virgin group. Most recently Philippa was New Product Development Director at Virgin Trains, responsible for scoping the customer experience strategy and ensuring its delivery to support the Virgin Brand umbrella. A creative, customer centric and results driven consultant with a passion for delivering real value at all levels of a business.