Sum­mer classes get the kids in the kitchen

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & LIFE - AD­DIE BROYLES

Are your kids tired of mak­ing them­selves grilled cheese sand­wiches and ra­men noo­dles this sum­mer? There’s still time for them to take a few cook­ing lessons, no mat­ter if they are preschool­ers or teens get­ting ready to head off to col­lege.

Kids’ cook­book author Bar­bara Beery has re­cently opened Kids Cook! — a kids’ cook­ing store and ac­tiv­ity cen­ter on Far West Boule­vard. Beery of­fers both sched­uled classes and drop-in ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren as young as 2.

“(Cook­ing) is so much like an art ac­tiv­ity that kids nat­u­rally grav­i­tate to­ward it,” Beery says. “We try to en­gage all the senses, the col­ors, smells, tex­tures and taste, in­volved in cook­ing.”

There aren’t many places that cater to kids as young as my 3-yearold son, Ju­lian, whose main ob­jec­tive for be­ing in the kitchen while I’m cook­ing is get­ting quick ac­cess to the sweet­est in­gre­di­ent on the coun­ter­tops. It’s no sur­prise, then, that of the two ac­tiv­ity choices (sweet and healthy) he chose the sweet op­tion: a red, white and blue cup­cake. Beery led Ju­lian and an­other bud­ding chef through the steps, from dec­o­rat­ing an apron through as­sem­bling the cup­cake and end­ing with cleanup. Many of the ac­tiv­i­ties are based on recipes from Beery’s 11 kidthemed cook­books. “You can adapt any recipe for lit­tle kids to pre­teenagers,” she says. “With the younger kids, you can spoon-feed them the steps, but with older kids, you can just give them gen­eral guide­lines and tips and let them loose.”

The store is open be­tween 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mon­day through Satur­day for 15-minute drop-in ac­tiv­i­ties, which cost about $11 and in­clude some sup­plies to take home. Beery is also of­fer­ing sched­uled classes ($13.99 to $29.99, in­clud­ing cook­ing prod­ucts and tools to take home) for var­i­ous age groups on Tues­day and Satur­day morn­ings and Wed­nes­day af­ter­noons: toque and tod­dler (for ages 2 to 5, 10:30 a.m. Tues­days), koodie (6 years and older, 3:30 p.m. Wed­nes­days) and gen­eral in­ter­est (var­i­ous age ranges, 10:30 a.m. Satur­days).

In ad­di­tion to the classes, the store of­fers a col­or­ful se­lec­tion of cook­books, cookie cut­ters, cake molds, candy kits, kid-sized uten­sils and other adorable prod­ucts that are as ap­peal­ing to adults as their young chefs. Go to kid­scook­ing­shop.com for class de­tails and a list of each week’s ac­tiv­ity choices. Call 346-3333 to re­serve a spot at one of the sched­uled classes or book a party or pri­vate class.

Here are a few other op­tions be­fore school starts again for kids of all ages who want to learn more about cook­ing:

• Get­ting high school stu­dents ready for liv­ing (and cook­ing) on their own is the goal of a se­ries of classes that Pa­tri­cia BauerSlate and her staff at Pa­tri­cia’s Lunch­box are of­fer­ing July 26 through July 30. “It’s a class on how to func­tion in your own kitchen once you leave home,” says cook­ing in­struc­tor Jane King. “What to buy, how to eat well with­out spend­ing a for­tune, how to break down a whole chicken, easy side dishes” and sim­ple dishes made with in­gre­di­ents like ground beef and eggs. The Col­lege Bound classes, which take place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mon­day through Thurs­day near the Do­main in North Austin, are for high school stu­dents and cost $40 per ses­sion.

Pa­tri­cia’s Lunch­box, which dur­ing the school year pro­vides lunches for stu­dents at eight pri­vate schools in Austin, is also of­fer­ing a class about choco­late ($40) from 10 a.m. to 12:30 July 21 for stu­dents en­ter­ing sixth through eighth grades.

Down­load the en­roll­ment sheet for each class at pa­tri­ci­aslunch­box.com and e-mail jane@pa­tri­ci­aslunch­box.com with ques­tions. • For the past few years, Open Door Pre

school, 3804 Cher­ry­wood Road, has hosted a two-week, cook­ing-fo­cused pro­gram called Camp Chef Kids. Kids ages 7 to 12 help grow food in the school’s gar­den, learn how to pre­pare snacks and some meals for them­selves and go on field trips to gro­cery stores to buy in­gre­di­ents for a lun­cheon that they put on at the end of the camp. Devel­op­ment di­rec­tor Nikka Comeaux says there are still camp spots avail­able for the fi­nal weeks of the full-day pro­gram, which costs $125 per week. (Comeaux says that the school pro­vides a slid­ing scale or re­duced tu­ition for fam­i­lies that qual­ify.) Call 481-0775 for in­for­ma­tion and en­roll­ment.

• Young Chefs Academy, a na­tional com­pany that has Round Rock and South Austin lo­ca­tions, of­fers af­ter-school and week­end classes year-round for preschool­ers through teens. Dur­ing the sum­mers, stu­dents can at­tend mul­ti­ple-day camps ($100-150) that cover topics like choco­late or se­cret in­gre­di­ents and re­gional cuisines such as Ital­ian, South­west or South­ern cook­ing in two-and three-hour ses­sions sev­eral days a week. The sched­ules and de­tails are avail­able at www.youngchef­sacademy.com.

• Cen­tral Mar­ket on North La­mar Boule­vard has an­other month’s worth of kids cook­ing classes for chil­dren as young as 5. Most days of the week fea­ture an hour­long class ($40) at 10 a.m. for a cer­tain age group, and each week, in­struc­tors cover a dif­fer­ent theme such as Greek food, choco­late, cook­ies or knife ba­sics.

• Whole Foods Mar­ket down­town is of­fer­ing two five-day cook­ing camps in the next few weeks, which will take stu­dents courseby-course through an en­tire din­ner party. The camp for kids 8 to 12 starts Mon­day ($150) and the one for teens ages 13 to 17 starts July 26 ($200). Sign up on­line at www. whole­foods­mar­ket.com.

Bar­bara Beery opened kids’ cook­ing store, ac­tiv­ity cen­ter.

James Brosher AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Fam­i­lies can shop for kid-size prod­ucts or en­roll chil­dren in hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties and classes at Kids Cook! Classes are tai­lored to chil­dren as young as 2 years old.

Jar­rad Hen­der­son AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Matthew Walawen­der, 12, left, and Ryan Cain, 11, pre­pare dough for thumbprint cook­ies at a Cen­tral Mar­ket kids’ camp.

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