My 10-year-old daughter loves baking from scratch. Over the last year, she has made biscuits, brownies and macaroons. In her free time, she enjoys flipping through cookbooks, scouring the web for fun recipes and watching baking competitions on TV.
As much as she tries to learn and study on her own, there are techniques and skills she isn’t able to master, and I’m unprepared to handle her more sophisticated questions. I’d love to cultivate her interest, so I was relieved to find several Valley venues that offer cooking classes geared toward kids.
Scottsdale mom Angela Barako raves about Sweet Basil Gourmet, which offers a variety of classes for kids and families. The Scottsdale business hosts a popular Young Chefs camp through August plus Saturday morning classes.
“My daughters loved it. They cooked a ton of items,” Barako says. “The Mexican-themed menu featured enchiladas, green tomatillo salsa, grilled veggies and sopaipillas. The kids tried so many new things they normally would never eat if I made them. Every day was a different theme. Very fun.”
At Chandler’s Storybook Kitchen, children’s literature favorites are the inspiration for recipes kids learn. By including a reading of the story, the approach combines interests in reading and cooking for a multilayered experience. Classes resume in August.
Cooking is also a good way to teach science and math. New this year: “Science in the Kitchen” cooking camps for ages 8 to 12 and 13 to 17 at Sur la Table at Scottsdale Fashion Square and Kierland Commons. Kids learn to follow a recipe, practice kitchen safety and explore the science behind cooking times and ingredients.
Looking for a more complete approach? Classic Cooking Academy in Scottsdale teaches kids to cook an entire Italian meal, including Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo and biscotti. Other options are Chinese takeout meals and French favorites, such as rice pilaf and chicken cordon bleu.
Owner Donna Dionot says the classes have different menus each week and focus on healthful ingredients. “Children are instructed by professional chefs and are able to go home and apply what they learn,” she says. “They learn about cooking the meal, but also about meal etiquette.”
If you’re uncomfortable sending your son or daughter to a cooking class alone, Scottsdale Community College allows both parents and kids to learn together at a June Kids Cooking Camp. Wouldn’t it be fun to have an experience you will remember as a team?
With so many options, I’m not certain what my daughter will choose, but it’s exciting to realize there are so many ways to help her pursue her passion for the culinary arts.
Cooking classes for kids
Classic Cooking Academy. Ages 8-12. $40 per day, $100 for three sessions Monday, June 6 through Wednesday, July 27. 10411 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road, Scottsdale, 480-502-0177.
Scottsdale Community College. Ages 8-13, parents welcome. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, June 6-8. $125. 9000 E. Chaparral Road, 480-423-6097.
Storybook Kitchen, 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9. Tumbleweed Recreation Center, 745 E. Germann Road, Chandler; 602-510-0959.
Sur La Table. Ages 8-17. $250 per week. Monday, June 13 through Friday, Aug. 12. Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 E. Camelback Road, 480-947-4478. Kierland Commons, 7122 E. Greenway Parkway, Phoenix; 480-998-0648.
Sweet Basil Gourmet. Ages 8-17. $250 per week Monday, June 13 through Friday, Aug. 5. 10749 N. Scottsdale Road, #101, Scottsdale, 480-596-5628.