I attended a media preview of Little Kitchen Academy with my niece. All opinions are my own.
Little Kitchen Academy is a Montessori based cooking class for children ages 3 to 13+ that opens June 24th in Vancouver. They offer a 3 hour classes once a week for 4 weeks. Each session the participants will prepare a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. The classes are “from scratch to consumption” where the children will experience how to properly wash their hands, kitchen and equipment safety, collecting and preparing ingredients and after cleaning up they set the table and enjoy the meal together. The classes are designed for 10 children, each having their own oven and workspace. Each class will have three instructors and parents can drop-and-go.
The class we attended was a condensed version of the class that they offer so the ovens were pre-set, work stations were pre-loaded and ingredients had been put together to make finding them easier for the children. I brought my niece, Lauren, to be the chef since she already has such a love of being in the kitchen and making her own food.
The first thing that Lauren did was to put on her chef jacket and Birkenstocks. Next, all the mini-chef’s headed to the hand-washing station to be properly taught how to wash their hands. The recipe for the class was to prepare Strawberry and Watermelon Salsa. They started off by painting baguettes with oil and decorating them with cinnamon and sugar. For this class the instructors put them in the oven and watched the timer to remove. Each participant had to collect the ingredients themselves. The children then grabbed the strawberries and watermelon and were taught how to properly hold a knife and cut. Each could decide how big or small they wanted each piece of fruit to be and it was really stressed to everyone that whether it be bite sized or chopped small that there was not a specific way it had to be prepared. One of my favourite parts of the kitchen was the live herb wall from GrowUp Greenwalls, that they will utilize first before having to use other sources. The children were each able to collect basil and mint leaves from it. They were taught to stack the basil leaves and roll them to cut. They finished off the recipe by adding lime juice. The children could use the juice press or squeeze directly from the lime. They were advised to try their salsa to see if it needed a bit more of anything they had previously added. After everything was prepared Lauren was able to plate her food how she wanted. All the children sat at the table to experience their food together. Normally the children would also have to set the table but because of time restraints of the evening they skipped that part. Each child was able to take leftovers home with them. It was really fantastic too the Chef’s gave everyone additional suggestions for their leftovers: the salsa could be a topping for ice cream or paired with onions and jalapenos for a different flavor.
In my experience, children always eat better when they have a chance to be involved whether that is directly in the kitchen or helping select the foods at the grocery store. It can also be hard to fully step back and let children be involved in the kitchen and I am guilty of this with my 12-year-old daughter and still find myself stepping in to finish what she has started. The fantastic thing about Little Kitchen Academy is that the children are being taught all the skills needed to avoid injuries in the kitchen while also giving them the confidence to prepare their own foods and find new and exciting healthy options that they want to bring home and experience with their family.
The dining table is from a local company ChopValue. It was made from 33,46 chopsticks. Organizations have partnered with ChopValue to transform their used chopsticks into every day functional items. They make tables, yoga blocks, coasters, wall décor and more. We were gifted a beautiful cutting board.