Cooking for Middle Schoolers: It IS all it’s Chopped Up to Be!

This winter we’ve been keeping warm in the kitchen with our visiting chefs: your favorite Middle Schoolers!

Not only does our Cooking for Middle Schoolers program keep kids busy, it encourages innovation, teamwork, curiosity, and helps to build confidence through the development of new culinary skills. During each 6-week session, students work on different things such as:

  • Basic knife skills and safety – how to mince, dice, chop, and slice
  • Mise en place – how to prepare your space with all the tools you’ll need before you start cooking (also a criteria they’re judged on in Jr Iron Chef VT*)

More broadly, our time together in the CCF kitchen includes a lot of reading comprehension: from reading a recipe to executing; exploration of different cultural backgrounds, and scientific information (i.e. What is a Scoville scale and how does it work? How does your sense of smell impact your taste?)

Each session is as unique as its participants, who often don’t go to the same school, allowing kids to connect with peers who are also interested in culinary arts. As we get to know one another, we learn about each other’s own food experiences (like family favorite dishes!). In an ode to our own farm family favorites, each class the students get to bring food home to share with their own families.

Not only are students guided and supported by our enthusiastic educators, they are utilizing a commercial-grade kitchen space with access to high-quality equipment you may not find at home. Perhaps the first step of inspiration towards a future in culinary arts!

*As part of the current session of Cooking for Middle Schoolers, the group is participating in Jr Iron Chef VT on March 9th! The competition entails:

  • Using an original recipe to make a savory entrée, soup, sandwich, or salad with local and seasonal ingredients;
  • Working together as a team of 3-5 to execute their a tasty dish; and,
  • Judging based on: execution, teamwork, taste, creativity, local (highlights at least one local Vermont product), and compliance (meeting all the guidelines and rules).

No matter the outcome on competition day, we’re proud of our junior chefs for their dedication during our 6 weeks together!

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