Kids in the Kitchen
Kids in the Kitchen
Want to find a way to spice up your time in the kitchen and give your kids a craving to cook? A few offerings in Yakima are designed to put some extra flavor in your family food prep.
One offering can be found at La Maison de Falaise, dubbed the Cliffhouse and located in Naches Heights. Although the business started in March and offers many adult cooking courses, La Maison de Falaise also hosts kids’ classes.
Kathy Sali, the founder and one of the group’s featured chefs, said the first children’s class – with a Hawaiian theme – was offered in June. Each class will offer a different theme, and Sali hopes to feature fall-favorite dishes such as ratatouille this upcoming season.
A parent or other adult is required to sign up with a child, and Sali said one of the goals is to encourage teamwork between the two. Often, she said, parents are busy and pick up fast food or throw something together quickly for dinner, and the time learning about food and bonding together in the kitchen is lost.
These classes are aimed at bringing back that kind of relationship that revolves around food. To model this relationship, Sali’s daughter and granddaughter, Eschelle and Blaire Nunley, teach each class to show this teamwork in action.
Eschelle said that in her family, she has always emphasized the importance of eating meals around the dinner table together – with the TV off. She said making recipes fun and different appeals to children.
“Anything off-the-wall and away from the norm gets kids to try different things,” Eschelle said, “so it’s not just a carrot stick in front of them.”
Blaire, Eschelle’s 6-year-old daughter, has become very involved in the kitchen with meal preparation in the past few years. She loves making anything with chicken, and the first meal she ever made was chicken shish kabobs.
Blaire has also developed a sensitive palette, once detecting basil in that evening’s spaghetti sauce all on her own.
Sali said the focus of each class is on the preparation of the food and learning about each ingredient and the cooking process. “It’s also about getting new ideas. Sometimes we run out of our repertoire,” she said.
La Maison de Falaise features a garden for students to venture into and pick out ingredients for salads and other dishes. Kids are encouraged to touch, smell and taste herbs and other ingredients. Sali said they might be asked how various herbs smell, and which foods they think they might have tasted these ingredients in before.
“It makes you a little more appreciative (of the food),” said Sali.
Blaire is one example of a child who appreciates gathering ingredients and preparing meals more than making a quick fast food run.
“We don’t eat at McDonald’s,” Blaire said.
Lessons on cleanliness and sanitation are also included in each class, so kids can understand why it’s important to prepare chicken carefully and keep hands clean when moving onto another food item. Table manners are also discussed in the class. Students receive gifts, such as aprons, too.
Sali’s goal is to offer kids’ courses once a month, which cost $35 per seat. The Sept. 26 class will feature a menu of mini pizzas, breadsticks and marinara, salad and dessert. Plans are still being worked out for future dates and themes. For more information, contact Sali at 509-961-9899, or visit the website at maisonfalaise.com.
Fresh Taste Meals also began offering cooking courses for kids this past summer.
“The classes are filling up like mad,” said Trish Koethke, who handles the administrative work for the company, located at 2204 Nob Hill Blvd.
Because of the popularity of these kids’ cooking classes, Fresh Taste Meals will continue offering them on a monthly basis.
During each one-hour class, students are exposed to the food pyramid and take a field trip to a grocery store, so they can identify fresh herbs and various ingredients to use for meal preparation. Other topics include sanitation and measuring.
“We also talk about different flavors from different regions,” said Koethke. “For instance, Italian foods have different spices.”
All classes are taught by Julie Boorman, the mother of Koethke and her sister Debbie Boorman, who oversees food and menu prep for the company. Each class is $25 per person, which includes the meal he or she gets to take home.
The Nov. 13 class will have a Thanksgiving theme, and students will learn how to get ready for a big dinner party with plenty of side dishes.
Future classes will have specific themes as well. A previous course focused on barista basics, with kids learning how to make various coffee drinks, and another upcoming class will be centered on cake decorating. Koethke said they do not require parents to stay for each class, but each child must be at least 9 years old.
For more information, contact Trish Koethke at 509-457-7798, or visit the company’s website at freshtastemeals.com.
Kids’ Cupcake Classes
Don’t forget about making dessert! Why not check out the Cake Decorator Shoppe, located at 5609 Summitview Ave., at the Chalet Place. While the business focuses on adult cake-decorating classes, it also holds kids’ cupcake classes.
There is a five-person minimum for each class, so this might be a great option for birthday parties or other celebrations. A parent or adult is required to attend each class. Students will end up taking home six cupcakes or cookies by the end of the class, which costs $15 per student.
To reserve a spot or get more information, call 509-494-0975 or visit the website at cakedecoratorshoppe.com.
YV Tech Culinary Arts Program
While kids can get started in the kitchen early on, high school juniors and seniors have a golden opportunity to receive culinary training right here in town, thanks to the Yakima Valley Technical Skills Center. The culinary arts program services nearly every school district in the upper and lower valleys, and younger kids also have a chance to get a flavor of the program.
Ned Walsh, the program’s coordinator, said many middle school classes have taken field trips to the facility to learn about the training. He added it would be fun to offer more kids’ programs in the future, especially for younger grades.
Several high schools in Yakima offer food classes in school, said Walsh, but the YV Tech program is more commercially centered. He noted that the facility’s kitchen is one of the best in Central Washington.
To find out more about YV Tech, call 509-573-5500.
Other Food Connections
There are a variety of ways to get your family involved in the kitchen and around the dining table. In addition to various classes offered around town, some moms host Pampered Chef parties, and often these events can create bonds between parents and their children.
Aubrey Does, a local stay-at-home mom, has been a Pampered Chef consultant since March 2008, months after her first child was born. She said she has been able to continue staying at home with her son because of this position.
She also noted it’s a good way to meet with other mothers and have their children focused on a single activity. Does hosted one mother-daughter show in the past, and the girls got involved in making calzones while the moms browsed the catalogs.
“Parents definitely connect with the parties, and a lot of stay-at-home moms sell it to bring in some extra income,” Does said, but she added there are many other companies or avenues that offer similar benefits to mothers.
Filed under Classes, Featured Stories, Food, From the Mag