Photo at Seasons by Atlantica, by Taste of NS on Twitter.
As part of our super fun March Break Junior Chefs Package, there have been a few kids’ cooking classes here at the hotel, taught by our executive chef Luis Clavel. We’ve opened up registration to any child that wants to participate, and we’ve got one class left: March 21 from 2-5pm. The cost is $25 plus taxes and are ideal for children ages 8-13!
Keeping in the spirit of teaching kids the joys of cooking and fostering a curiosity for what real ingredients look like and how to use them, we want to share a guest blog post today. This guideline for setting up a kids’ “black box” cooking challenge was put together by Luis’ wife Jackie Clavel.
Kids’ Black Box Cooking
We started playing “Black Box Cooking” because my child was interested in what her Daddy did when he was not home. My husband is an executive chef who works long hours and competes in competitions all over the world. This activity gives your child time to be creative, learn a little about a trade and gives you quality time together. Black Box cooking competitions are real and can be very challenging even for the best chefs.
In this activity your child will be given multiple edible items and dishes to create their own mouthwatering dish for you to taste and judge. Remember when it is all said and done you will have to take at least one bite of the creation to show your support and encouragement. Choose your items carefully!
Required Materials: Whatever food and dishes you decide are adequate for your child to use unsupervised.
Time for activity: This activity should only take about five minutes for the parents to prepare and about 15 -30 minutes for the child depending on their age and what ingredients they have.
Location: This activity would normally take place in your kitchen as everything you need is already there.
Clear the table; gather your ingredients and join us in a step by step on how to create a black box cooking experience for your child.
Step 1: Gather your equipment and ingredients
In this step the parent(s) selects the ingredients and dishes that they wish the child to use. When we play this game at home we change the ingredients every time to make it interesting. It is often fun to include items from your own garden if you have one as it brings a different element into the activity. For this particular Black Box we used the following ingredients:
- Corn Flakes
- Sunflower Seeds
- Blueberry Greek Yogurt
- Canadian Maple Syrup
- Fresh peaches and blueberries recently picked on an outing
- A saucer and spoon for displaying the creation along with a napkin for clean-up.
Step 2: Collect the chef and introduce them to the ingredients
At this stage it is fun to let your child dress-up for the part if they wish. When introducing them to the ingredients let them tell you what they are. You can even ask them if they know where that food comes from or how it grows.
Step 3: The chef begins to create
It is nice to give the child some space at this point. Find something to do while your child is having fun creating a wonderful dish for you to try. The only rule is safety comes first. If you want, you can change it up and tell them the goal is to use all the ingredients in the one dish.
Step 4: The masterpiece is completed
When your child is done their creation they will be very excited to show you what they have created.
Step 5: The parent(s) get to judge the food
It is fun to pretend you are a real food judge in a competition. Ask your child to describe what they have created. Then taste in small bites, savor the flavor, and give feedback. If your child is anything like mine, they will want to sample the creation also.
Black Box started as a way for my husband and daughter to spend time together and teach her about what he does for a living. It is now helping her learn about different foods, how they grow, and helping her experience different ingredients. Whether or not you have a professional chef in the house; this is a great activity for any child if they love to learn and be creative. Why not help them do that and learn some life skills at the same time. Please tell us what great creations your children come up with. After your first Black Box experience please post your pictures so we can all see what your child has created.