Teaching kids to cook is important on so many levels. First, it teaches them a lifelong skill. But it can also teach them how to eat more healthfully, something that every child could benefit from in this era of fast food and processed snacks.
If my kids have helped make a dish, they are much more likely to try something new than if I just served it to them. And as a side benefit, having your children help in the kitchen promotes family togetherness and eases the burden on mom and dad.
Most importantly, kids find it fun. My children are always asking to help me in the kitchen. Even my 4-year-old can get in on the action. Little ones are great at pouring and stirring. Older kids can help with simple chopping and assembling.
When Cat Cora of the Food Network's "Iron Chef" came to Memphis for her book signing, there were almost as many child fans in the audience as adults. My little brother has every digital video disc Alton Brown has released. Kids are the next generation of foodies.
Here are two schools offering kids camps this summer:
The Viking Cooking School, 1215 Ridgeway Rd., has a series of camps designed just for the young chefs-in-training. Their week-long "Kids and Teens Camps" are designed to teach basic age-appropriate cooking skills and techniques including kitchen safety, nutrition and creativity. For more information, call 763-3747.
The Young Chefs Academy, 1799 Germantown Pkwy., is offering three-day "Camp Can-I-Cook" classes throughout the months of June and July. These classes designed for children ages 5 to 15 will explore the cuisine and recipes from each of seven regions in the United States, while learning interesting fun facts about each state and visiting historical landmarks. To register, call 309-2857.
A backstage pass
Chef Ben Vaughn of River Oaks is offering an opportunity for guests to get a glimpse into the kitchen of his acclaimed restaurant.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, guests can reserve a table in the kitchen and enjoy a special six-course menu paired with wine by Sommelier Andreas Karaminas. This tasting menu is $125 per person. For reservations, call 683-9305.
Curious to know how the world's most renowned chefs got to where they are?
Well, tune into WKNO-TV Channel 10 on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. to watch "Chef's Story," a new weekly series that explores the life, culinary influences and seminal cooking experiences of world-renowned master chefs. Guests such as Lidia Bastianich, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain, Bobby Flay, Charlie Trotter and other luminaries reflect on their careers and share insights into the craft of cooking.
Hot and thirsty?
Smoothie King Midtown, 1995 Union Ave., is offering a refreshing Memorial Day special on Monday. All 20-ounce smoothies will be $3 all day. Special store hours will be noon to 6 p.m.
Please share your fabulous food finds and restaurant news with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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