Children are natural investigators, hungry for information and interested in many topics that affect their collective lives. Of those topics, one that always gets their attention and their participation is food and its preparation.
Bottom line: Kids are creative by nature and, like all of us, they love to eat. But what they purchase to eat, how they prepare it and the choices they make on the way to putting food in their mouths and bodies matters not only to them but, in reality, to all of us.
Metro Detroit has a variety of cooking classes for children from preschoolers to college age, each one targeting different skill or experience levels. Some of these courses are one-time events; others can go for several weeks or months as students develop.
For example, Zingerman’s has BAKE!, its cooking school for all ages. “BAKE!, a teaching kitchen designed for home bakers of all different skill levels, from those who have never touched a measuring spoon in their life to those who feel pretty accomplished and want to learn more,” the company said.
Here are some cooking classes for kids that may spark the inner Iron Chef in your kitchen prodigy.
The Kitchen Crew: This Detroit-based cooking school focuses on creating tasty eats from scratch. These courses are for kids from 5 to 15, and the classes center on whole, unprocessed foods and home cooking. Owner and founder Cora Cowles is a mom and native Detroiter who saw how busy families have become and wanted to make cooking instruction fun and easy to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles.
Eastern Market: Cooking classes at this historic icon in Detroit give kids a taste of international flavors. For example, this summer’s offerings include foodie expeditions using ingredients inspired by the foods of South Africa, Lebanon, India and Japan. They also offer classes on kitchen basics, such as pickling. Families can attend classes with Detroit area master chefs as well.
Henry Ford West Bloomfield: The hospital’s Demonstration Kitchen offers classes for adults and children. The goal is to help people learn how to create “fun, flavorful meals” that are easy to make and delicious to eat. The classes are held in its West Bloomfield location at a modern auditorium with full kitchen capabilities. Classes are typically $20 per person.
Zingerman’s Baking and Cooking: Your future Bobby Flay or Kat Cora definitely will get his or her hands into the dough during these kid’s cooking classes. This famous Ann Arbor-based business has dozens of classes for all ages, including courses on bread, pastry, cake and more. They also offer family classes and kids’ camps for those who really want to dive deep into food prep. Classes also are just plain old fun with titles such as “Explore the World of Toast and Jam.”
Rising Stars Academy: Chef Mark Prentiss and his wife Deb founded this cooking school for students with special needs who are ages 18-26. The year-round school has a culinary-art curriculum that not only helps its students learn how to love and prepare food but also gets them ready for a job in the future if that’s their path or goal. The school also supports its mission and the community through its Rising Stars Café, where you can try the food and financially boost the organization as a whole.