When I got involved with cooking I must have been around 3 years old. Imagine having a toddler running around in the kitchen, throw in the worry of having knives and hot pans around, and you have a kitchen nightmare! Or do you?!
The kitchen in our family home was always the heart and soul of our house and my favourite place to be. I was lucky that I had patient teachers in my mother and grandmother whom loved sharing their recipes with me. They relished the fact I was interested and easily entertained so they often delegated small, safe jobs for me to do. As I grew up I shared stories about my childhood and soon realised that my friends didn’t spend time learning to cook from their parents. They left for university not knowing cooking basics. I feel lucky that I was taught from a young age, and that I got to share time with my family in such a fun way.
As much as this seems to have been lost with my generation, it makes me happy to see that the next generation are learning to cook. I recently did a masterclass and my youngest student was a 7 year old. A 7 year old!! They sure start young these days. It was a pleasure to teach him and see his bright eyes open wide when I shared secrets of my spice box. I was told that he wanted to be a chef when he grows up, and that he has his own chefs hat and apron. He stands on a stool to help his parents cook family dinner and isn’t afraid of any kitchen jobs. He has started a website to share his culinary discoveries and called it ‘The Brilliant Chef‘ and that’s exactly what he is. He reminded me of me when I was a little girl, seeing how keen he was to learn and how content he felt in the kitchen. He turned his hand to every job I gave him and I was proud to call him my sous chef – a title he loved!
It got me thinking….there must be more young enthusiastic chefs out there that one day dream of owning their own restaurant and being able to cook whatever recipes they want. There are plenty of cookery classes that are tailored to children but they are always dumbed down and usually involve chocolate or something sweet. Surely we should be teaching them other basics such as bread baking and even world cuisine. They may have travelled with their parents and tried something exotic and with foreign fruit and vegetables being available in all major supermarkets and farmers markets these days, should we not be sharing recipes with them so they grow up more culinarily experienced?!
The next generation continue to surprise me and I love to see how they are getting involved with food. I have a whole bunch of child friendly recipes on my website and I know there are a million more available on the web. So dust off those aprons on a windy rainy Saturday afternoon and get cooking with your family. The end result will be even tastier.