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Teaching Children to Cook - a Parent's Dream

...who wants to join the Gourmet Kids Culinary Club?

By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE Gourmet Kids Culinary Club is preparing to host their second Christmas camp.

This year the camp is entitled "Christmas Around the World." It will be held at Pleasantville Secondary School.

Every Wednesday afternoon, children between the ages of seven and 16 meet at the Food and Nutrition lab of the Pleasantville Secondary School to learn to cook.

The club's founder and chief coordinator Hazel-Ann La Fortune said each month there is a theme and the young chefs will learn to create dishes based on that theme. The theme for this month is, obviously, "Christmas Food."

The club, which has 40 members, was officially launched in October but has been existing since last year.

Members share one thing. They all love to cook.

La Fortune, a single mother of three, enjoys cooking with her children. She said other children in the neighbourhood would ask her if they can cook with her. She realised that many would like to learn to cook and the idea of a camp to teach cooking skills was born. After a survey on the social networking site Facebook, the Gourmet Kids Culinary Camp was formed.

About the club, La Fortune  said, "Kids learn cooking fundamentals, social etiquette and healthy nutrition. The goal of the club is to foster lifelong healthy eating habits, by helping children to choose, cook and eat safe, healthy food. Cooking with children has many proven educational benefits, such as honing mathematical and language skills, and social benefits in the development of important skills such as team work, independence and self-reliance, leadership and critical thinking".

Gourmet Kids Culinary Club was awarded an Idea2Innovation grant by the Ministry of Planning and the Economy for its positive social impact and its potential to serve the wider national community in August.

La Fortune said another important objective of the club is to help children explore national and foreign cultures through food.
"When children attend club meetings, they have the opportunity to learn about food in an enjoyable and engaging way, even as they develop practical cooking skills that they will use throughout their lives.

Since the club officially launched in October, we have made so many wonderful dishes. We ate focaccia from Italy, quesadillas from Mexico, English muffins, local favorites such as geera chicken and coconut bake, and most recently a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from the USA. It’s safe to say that we are travelling the world via our stomachs."

During Christmas, Easter holidays, and the July/August school vacation, camps are held. The cost for this Christmas camp is $100 and will take place the first week after school closes.

The club was in need of donors and corporate partners she said. Anyone wanting further information can contact La Fortune at 330-2668. Her email address is gourmetkidsculinary@gmail.com.
 
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