Cooking classes introduce children to something they may not even know they’re interested in – the culinary arts – while teaching them valuable life skills.
Remember when you were a kid and you actually had a few moments of boredom?
These days children have constant stimulation from iPads and video games, sports and scouts, and it seems that they don’t know what it means to be bored … until summer hits. Suddenly you’re scrambling for day camps and art clubs, desperate to get your little ones interested in something that doesn’t involve a screen. If playing outdoors has lost its luster and your brood is whining for something new to do, consider a cooking class.
These days the culinary movement is reaching all ages of interested participants – from non-professional chefs and world-renowned professionals to foodies under age 13 on FOX’s MasterChef Junior. Everyone should be given the skills to cook something to eat, even children as young as five or six years old. Better yet, this is the ideal time in life to learn about nutrition and how to eat correctly, a lesson many Americans are clearly learning too late.
Or, if you’ve got a summer birthday party to plan, why not make it a cooking class? Wearing a little toque and apron puts young chefs in the right mindset to learn a few skills from the pros – and children love to eat what they’ve made themselves (and show off their new skills with leftovers at home). Here are our picks for Houston-area culinary classes, suitable for ages five and older.
Urban Chef offers everything from step-stools to snacks for kids’ birthday parties. Prices start at $50 per child (ages five and up) and include two hours of hands-on class, chef hats for the birthday kiddo and guests, and you can bring in your own cupcakes – or they can make your life easier and have those ready for you upon arrival. Interested in a week of classes for your kids? Urban Chef hosts five-day culinary camps for young children and teens. Visit their website for the schedule, pricing and menus.
Sur La Table
Offered in June, July and August, there are a few different options for kids and teens, including Around The World for Teens and Sweet Treats for Kids. These classes are for five consecutive days and are $250 per student. Check the website for details.
Cook, Learn, Grow
Professional chef Lori Hinze offers classes in Dallas and Austin, as well as Houston. She works with schools to hold classes on their campuses to teach young eaters food literacy. If you poke around the website, you’ll also see culinary camps this summer in the Cinco Ranch area that include Farmer’s Market Cooking (ages 7 to 9, $220 per student) and Summer Block Cooking Party (ages 10 to 13, $220 per student). The private birthday party isn’t cheap ($285 for 8 guests), but includes extras such as apron decorating.
Not in for the full commitment for $200-plus it may cost to give your kids a taste of cooking school? Let them test the waters before you dive in. Williams-Sonoma offers free hands-on cooking sessions that are not quite as involved or lengthy as those mentioned above. And, while each store location offers the same classes, the time their classes are scheduled varies, so you’ll need to call the location nearest you to find out what time your tyke can get in. Examples of past classes include Top Your Tacos and Eat Your Veggies, with offerings for ages five through 13. Wander through the website for more details.
Chefs2B is actually an online retailer of child-geared cooking utensils for the young chef who is serious about their food. From pastry molds to specialty cake decorations, the extra bonus with Chefs2B is their how-to videos featuring the fundamentals and not-so-basic techniques and five mother sauces that culinary students study in school – but they made easy for kids to understand. This might be another good jumping off point for interested scholars before taking the plunge and signing up for a class.