As soon as My Little Foodies were able to sit up in their high chairs, I actively made them a part of dinnertime preparations. Strategically placed at a safe distance from the stove, they were always able to see the frenetic energy (or lack thereof at times) that went into making a homemade meal. I also situated them near the dishwasher, so they can learn to appreciate the aftermath.
While Little A still simply sits in his chair mesmerized by the chopping, mixing, and silly little songs I sing about him to entertain us both, Big A has assumed much more responsibility in the kitchen, completely of her own volition. Whether it is rolling out the dough for homemade pizzas (“Edamame and Salami Pizza” is her original creation) or selecting ingredients for homemade popsicles, Big A (and her stepstool) are constantly following me around the kitchen. Whatever we cook, Big A seems more inclined to eat it because she had a hand in making it (something to keep in mind for those struggling to get a child to eat a well-rounded diet). I therefore knew that the perfect gift for Father’s Day would be cooking classes with Daddy, someone Big A rarely sees in this setting.
The Cook’s Warehouse offers a number of cooking classes fit for Little Foodies. The menus are quite sophisticated, yet well-thought out in terms of easy assembly for munchkins with short attentions spans. All of the menus are listed online, so that you can select something that is appealing to the palate prior to registration.
Led by a professional chef and the cooking school’s assistants, the kids were outfitted in little aprons and dish towels like they were on the line at some Michelin 3-star restaurant for this “Dad and Me: In the Kitchen” class. The kitchen is every person’s dream, whether you cook or not: massive work spaces with gorgeous finishes, multiple top-of-the line ovens, and every kitchen tool you have pinned on “Dream Kitchen” for your Pinterest page.
Dads and their Little Foodies sat around multiple tables with full place settings as they listened to instructions and learned about the day’s recipes to recreate at home. Everyone was out of their seats within the first few minutes of this “Hands On” class to start washing hands (all while singing different songs) and taking their places at rotating stations.
At the first station, Big A broke apart pieces of dough, placed them into ramekins, and brushed them with melted butter for Citrus Cream Cheese Pull Apart Bread. She then got to add pre-prepped citrus zest and sprinkle dried cranberries among two more layers of dough before adding the rest of the ingredients and moving on to the next station.
Next, my little foodie smothered strips of thick-cut bacon with brown sugar for Spiced Nuts With Sugared Bacon, an interesting selection for a young children’s menu, yet a big hit with the Dads. Unlike most who would simply sprinkle the strips, Big A meticulously covered every last inch with the sticky crystals, as if she was exhaustively coloring a picture with crayons. She was then tasked with adding all the pre-measured spices into the bowl of nuts.
Daddy and Big A rounded out their trip around the kitchen by assembling mini Hawaiian Breakfast Casseroles by layering dough, shredded potatoes, eggs, cheddar cheese, and pineapple, and then rolling and sugaring dough, and crushing potato chips to top the Potato Chip Cookies.
While all of the dishes were baking in the oven, the children peaked in with curiosity trying to identify their masterpieces. Time was also strategically set aside for Daddies to shop the store with a 10% discount on purchases that day.
In the end, the class enjoyed their immense brunch. While some kids devoured the final product, Big A included, pickier students barely touched their food. Nonetheless the little executive chefs had a great time in the kitchen, and enjoyed an afternoon with their sous-chef fathers!
Classes range is price from $35-50 for two to three hours!