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May 13, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, May 13, 2005

Kids in the kitchen Kids in the kitchen (May 13, 2005)

New culinary school offers classes for the younger chef

By Allison Gerard

Kids today are quite the epicureans, throwing around words like biscotti, couscous and souffle. Despite their great knowledge of foods, however, kids still rank tomatoes, fish and eggplant among their least favorites.

The newly opened culinary school Cooking Up a Storm, at 1350 Pear Ave., is trying to change all this through cooking classes geared toward kids.

"Learning to cook is a basic life skill," said Gale Tan-Ong, the school's owner. "I want to teach kids the importance of nutrition while learning to cook, and to have an open mind while exploring new foods."

The Saturday morning classes include a tasting session that allows kids to sample exotic foods. Israeli couscous and white sapote, a tropical fruit, were among the items sampled during the April 30 class, and all of the new foods were well received by the 10 young chefs.

During the classes, kids prepare dishes from a themed menu such as "Caesar and the Duke," while learning a pinch of history and a dash of math along the way.

At first the new chefs were a bit wary of cutting and measuring, but by the end many felt comfortable enough to take a little creative license while layering ladyfingers on their tiramisu.

Isabella Pelosi, a 9-year-old, decided that two layers was not sufficient and made her tiramisu with three.

Mixing, stirring and whipping are all fun, but what the kids really enjoyed was getting their hands dirty. While the nine girls in the class squealed when the raw chicken breast was placed before them, the lone boy in the class viewed this as the best part.

William Chan, a 10-year-old, said what made seasoning the chicken fun was "getting your hands all slimy."

True to their sugar-and-spice image, the girls in the class seemed to enjoy the pastries more.

"I'm really looking forward to making the puff pastry and learning to play with them," said Pelosi.

Things went pretty smoothly and recipes were a hit until the kids realized their Caesar salad was going to have anchovies in it.

"We're making a dressing out of anchovies?" asked 8-year-old Karina Dutra.

But lots of mayo and garlic later, "It may taste better than it looks," said 9-year-old Campbell Fields.

By the end of the morning everyone seemed impressed with their accomplishments and anxious to take home their meal of cheese triangles, chicken Wellington, Caesar salad and tiramisu. After a little debate it was decided that they would indeed share the food with their parents and maybe their siblings if they behaved.

Classes are offered on a regular basis for adults as well, and parents can also take classes with their children. Schedules are available at
E-mail Allison Gerard at [email protected]

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