Kids get cooking
Manawatu children have been cooking up a storm during free weekly classes at a Palmerston North vegan cafe.
Wholegrain Organics owners Naomi and Robert Hall teach children how to create dishes from the ground up.
The students pick their own herbs, learn how milk is made from almonds, cook vegan meals, serve the dishes and then clean up.
The cooking class takes place every Thursday. When Stuff visited this week about a dozen children learned how to make vegan polenta with garlic mushrooms and black and red bean burgers.
Naomi said if she saw someone whose face lit up when they were talking about food, she would encourage them to come along.
It gave the children joy and something to get stuck into, she said. ‘‘They get a kick out of that.’’ Holly Sollitt, 13, said she attended the classes to learn new cooking techniques that will help her when she’s older and has to cook for herself.
‘‘It’s also a really good bonding experience.’’
Most of Holly’s family is vegan and she wanted to be able to help with the cooking at home, she said.
Emma Ellwood, 12, went from knowing how to cook a hardboiled egg to cooking bean patties and vegan icecream.
‘‘I’m not a cook but I’m developing some skills.’’
The sessions coincide with
‘‘It's also a really good bonding experience.’’ Holly Sollitt, 13
school terms but some children choose to come along for the whole year.
Naomi said she had noticed how much the children had learned since they starting cooking about nine weeks ago.
After they cooked the meals they also have to serve customers and work at the counter.
Some had been too shy to talk to customers at first but their confidence has grown every week, Naomi said.
‘‘Week by week they feel more at home.’’
Classes are free but children chip in $5 for the meal. It was a good opportunity for them to sit down with family and friends at a dining table without a television in the background, Naomi said.
Te Takere, a youth and community centre in Levin, also hosts cooking on Fridays.
Sian Hardie, 11, serves the food during cooking classes at Wholegrain Organics.