Five year-old Ben is up to his elbows in banana pudding and the excitement is clearly visible as he holds his hand out and makes a chopping motion waiting for class to begin in a dummy class at the Rising Chefs Culinary Centre.
Ben and other children will be learning how to cook healthy and tasty snacks under the supervision of experienced instructors at the centre.
Jennifer Kelcher, mother of Ben and three year-old Regan, has enrolled both her children in these cooking classes. She says that she thought it was a great idea and her children were also interested in these classes.
“The kids thought it was a fabulous idea. They’re so excited, my son is really up for it,” she says.
The Rising Chefs Culinary Centre is a place for children of all ages to learn how to cook and to explore different types of food that they may not be accustomed to.
Fruits and vegetables are on the menu for budding young chefs at the Rising Chefs Culinary Centre, which opens formally on March 17 near Port Union Road and Sheppard Avenue East.
The idea for the Rising Chefs Culinary Centre, which Clive Lawrence chef do cuisine describes as a ‘unique idea’, came from the owner, Tracey Manne. She came up with the idea a year and a half ago and has provided the funds necessary to establish this centre.
Lawrence says that their main goal is to instill healthy eating and expose children to different types of food at a young age.
“I think that the food network has been a huge draw for children. A lot of children are watching the food network, and I think that every parent wants their children to eat healthy,” Lawrence says. “This is a great way to get them started.”
He says that there are many different ways for parents to sneak in healthy food into different dishes.
“We have a brownie, if I gave you this brownie, you’d really enjoy it. You would never know that it had two cups of zucchini in it,” Lawrence says.
By giving children the finished product first, Lawrence says that children will be given a different approach to healthy food.
“Obviously the final product is the carrot we’re dangling in front of their noses. But once they get involved in the hands on in the preparation they’ll start to enjoy that too. We’re obviously going to concentrate on sanitation and hygiene as well,” he says. “It’s got to be healthy, safe and fun.”
Lawrence has been practicing this at home with his children for year. And now he will be bringing his many years of experience as a chef and as a parent to this culinary centre.
Claudia O’Hearn, an early childhood educator with 15 years of experience with children, is one of the instructors at the culinary centre. She says that the most difficult thing with her job will be trying to keep the attention of younger children.
“Three to five year-olds are still so curious and aren’t really grasping the whole concept yet of what they’re doing,” O’Hearn says. “So they don’t quite know yet, the healthy aspect.
“I think that the most challenging thing is to keep their attention and get them to enjoy it.”
Instructors at this centre will be using various methods to keep children focused and attracted to class. Instructors will be reading stories, putting on movies and generally keeping the children’s attention.
“I think it’s just your tone of voice and keeping them going in what they do,” she says.
With its colourful and attractive décor, this culinary centre is designed to appeal to a broad age group. Lawrence says that they will have classes for children age three and up, and there will also be classes for adults where they will be taught how to cook for their family or host dinner parties.
For more information, please call 416-207-0029.