By Lurdes Abruscato
Most kids just want to get their hands dirty. And what better way to let them do so than in a professional kitchen, supervised by culinary experts, learning a life-long skill that’ll also improve their self-confidence, math proficiency and cognitive abilities? Lucky for Baltimore — home of great eats throughout the Inner Harbor, downtown and Little Italy, as well as its own Culinary Arts Center — there are plenty of kids’ cooking lessons to choose from. And, lucky for parents … they get to sample the tasty results.
For the Love of Food – Kids Cook! Programs
20 Clarks Lane
Reisterstown, Md. 21136-5810
Dates: Parent-child cooking classes one Sunday per month during school year; camps throughout the summer; in-home birthday parties on weekends; private functions available upon request
Price: Sunday classes – $95 (includes parent and child fee); summer camps start at $399; birthday parties vary.
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Targeting kids ages 8 and up and run by a Culinary Institute grad, this school (with two kitchens able to accommodate groups of 35) offers an assortment of parent-child cooking classes one Sunday a month starting in September. The classes of 8 kids/8 adults are taught full, from-scratch meals, including homemade breads, sushi and more. A variety of cooking camps, complete with before- and after-care options, are available during the summer. Adult programs, including team-building functions, private catering, and nearby local food tours, also are popular with Baltimore residents.
Cannelloni Kids Cooking School LLC (CKCS)
Ellicott City, Md.
Dates: Various afterschool classes offered in schools and centers, usually run through Howard County
Recreation and Parks. Come-to-your-home birthday parties offered on weekends. Assortment of summer camps offered through Howard and Carroll County Recreation and Parks. Occasional private classes offered at sites such as Fort Meade, Columbia Association, so long as a kitchen is available.
Price: Afterschool – $120 for four 1 ½ hour classes. Birthday parties – $350 for 8 children, $25 for each additional child, includes all food supplies, aprons and tablecloths; parents supply water. Summer camps range in pricing.
Established in 2008 by a parent of an autistic child who ate better when involved in the kitchen, this mobile cooking program teaches children ages 5-16 the culinary arts. No chicken fingers here: CKCS rotates unique programs involving cuisines from Italy (making homemade pasta), France (browning crème brûlée) and more. Birthday parties include design-your-own aprons and multiple party themes (cook-offs, Asian meals with chopstick lessons, dessert decorating). In March, the company launched CKCS Foods, a pioneer program of hot, healthy lunches to students at St. John’s Parish Day School in Ellicott City.
Pierpoint Restaurant & Catering
1822 Aliceanna St.
Baltimore, Md. 21231
Dates: 1+ class/month on weekends during the school year – confirm with the restaurant as dates are subject to change due to sports seasons, private functions, catering schedules; summer classes/camps offered throughout 9 weeks; private lessons available upon request
Price: Weekend 3-hr. classes – $50; summer classes – $90/individual class, $350/wk.
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For more details on Pierpoint
A mainstay in the Modern Maryland food scene, Pierpoint also has a dedicated following of youngster foodies. During the school year, kids ages 10-17 can take a 3-hour class on weekends, with such varied, hands-on topics as dim sum, brunch foods, or international appetizers. Children under 11 must have a participating adult with them and class sizes are limited to 10 people, with 3 instructors per class. During the summer, the restaurant offers week-long, 5 ½ hour classes. An emphasis is placed on junk-free food, instead focusing on healthy, homemade alternatives. Registering families are encouraged to call for more details, particularly regarding allergies, vegetarian issues and how to order an apron or jacket.
Kids in the Kitchen 1-Day Community Event
By Junior League of Baltimore at Port Discovery
35 Market Pl.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Dates: annual, next on Feb. 4, 2012
The Kids in the Kitchen Program is part of the international Junior League initiative to combat childhood obesity. Held annually at the Inner Harbor’s Port Discovery, the non-profit event brings in Baltimore students and offers all-day interactive cooking and exercise stations.
The Classic Catering People
99 Painters Mill Road
Owings Mills, Md. 21117
Cook Camp Classic will inspire apron-clad kids age 5-16 to create dishes that will be fun for the whole family to prepare. Your junior chef has the opportunity to get their hands into the ingredients and bring home a dinner for four to share with family and friends.
Cooking Camp Classic runs for six weeks starting in June and includes 1.5 hours of instruction, dinner buffet, T-shirt (one per child) and a meal prepared by the kids to take home.
Cost: $75 per class
For more information or to sign up, please contact Jackie Shugarman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lurdes Abruscato is a local freelance writer and contributing blogger to several sites. She is always on the lookout for worthwhile activities and creative pursuits for her two children.