Kids get cook­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - MIRI SCHROETER

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.

WAR­WICK SMITH

Sian Hardie, 11, serves the food dur­ing cook­ing classes at Whole­grain Or­gan­ics.

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