Cincinnati Family Magazine

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December 4, 2022

Young Chefs: Help for the Holidays!

Get into the spirit of holiday baking with a visit to Young Chef’s Academy, where kids (and parents!) can learn some yummy baking tips.

My boys shook the raw eggs, trapping the yolks in their hands and letting the whites ooze through their slimed fingers. The whites collected in a blue bowl, and when the dripping stopped, they slid the yolks into a green bowl. Next, it was time to wash their hands, again.

Separating eggs was just one of the things my youngest kids learned at the Young Chef’s Academy. Located in Mason, Ohio, the academy offers KinderCooks for kids ages 3 – 5, Senior Chefs for 13-16 year olds, and Junior Chefs for the kids in between. There are also party packages and events for adults.

Our Young Chef’s class lasted about an hour, and involved the creation and tasting of two delicious dishes. Before we arrived, I filled out registration and release forms and gave these to the kids’ teacher, Miss Chelesa. I stuck around for the class, but parents may simply drop

After greeting my boys, and introducing them to the other young chefs, who preferred to go by nicknames for the evening, Miss Chelsea tied white aprons on children and directed them to wash their hands. While we waited for any other arrivals, she invited the young chefs to peruse the evening’s two recipes, or to draw with markers until it was time to begin. In fact one little girl elected to continue drawing throughout the class, even on the refrigerator (with washable markers, I presume), and while she was gently invited back every step of the way, she was never pressured to participate.

Perhaps that’s because there are “no mean teachers” at Young Chef’s Academy, and no homework, “unless you want some, like eating what we cooked at home, or making the recipe again.” We learned these facts along with the rules, that include “No horseplay, no pushing, no shoving,” and “no cartwheels,” added the marker-wielding young lady. There’s also no running around with knives or scissors, or goofing off by the stove. Fortunately, the kids were well behaved, and Miss Chelsea never needed to remind anyone to follow these rules or “to respect themselves and others.”

Before beginning, Miss Chelsea asked for volunteers to read the recipe. They read it all the way through “so we know what we need, and what we’re doing.” From there, the class was very hands on. The kids did everything, working in teams, and on their own. They learned about measurements, wet and dry ingredients (I didn’t know sugar is a wet ingredient), how to whip egg whites, and how to fold them into other mixtures.

Time management played an important role in the class, too. The base for the egg pinwheels went into the oven, while work started on the muffins. Clean up, along with extra hand washing, happened throughout the class. Miss Chelsea offered precautions about salmonella, and other potential dangers, and used her sense of humor whenever possible. “We always wear gloves when we grate cheese, because the grater is super sharp and you don’t want bloody cheese.”

Fortunately, no bodily fluids or foreign substances landed in the food, though there was perhaps “too much nutmeg” in the Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins. We sampled these, along with the Egg Pinwheels stuffed with cheese and crumbled bacon, and some orange juice, and found them all very delicious, and a few days later the recipes arrived in my email, ready for us to try at home.

LEARN MORE:

Young Chef’s Academy
6649 Western Row Rd.
Mason, OH 45040
513-549-CHEF (2433) • 
westchesteroh@youngchefsacademy.com

Barbara Littner David is a local writer and mother of five. She is also the author of Cincinnati Trips for Kids, a collection of more than 40 great Cincinnat-area attractions.

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