I have long been a believer that we need to exercise our minds in a variety of ways and that everyone has a creative outlet, but sometimes it takes time to discover it. This is why I sometimes make the tough decision to enroll our kids to a class, program or activity that is slightly outside of their comfort zone and a little "unfamiliar."
My son, Henry, is nearly nine and loves sports, science and history. He has yet to find a creative outlet though. Creative outlets such as drawing, painting and even coloring have just never been enjoyable for him. In fact, those types of activities can often cause the opposite reaction and stress him out if the end result is not quite in line with what he had hoped for achieving.
But in the kitchen he seems to be at ease and enjoys the process of preparing food. He has helped me prepare meals for a holiday meal and bake treats for special occasions. So when I was recently given the opportunity for Henry to participate in a five day cooking class at Sur La Table I did not hesitate to say "YES!"
Henry, on the other hand, was not as excited. He was apprehensive about putting himself out there, into something unknown.
"Who else will be there?"
"But I don't know much about cooking!"
"What if we make things I don't like to eat?"
The first day of the Sur La Table class he fought with me and tried to think of ways to get out of going.
Part of me hates seeing him uncomfortable, but the other part of me felt pretty certain that if we followed through he was going to have a really great time.
We arrived early, and the Sur La Table staff was so welcoming that it instantly put Henry more at ease. The chef was still prepping the work stations, but we were invited in and while I signed in for camp Henry was given an apron and allowed to pick out a work station.
Day one of "Kids Summer Cooking Class: Restaurant Week" was a HUGE SUCCESS.
Every now and then I would peek into the kitchen and catch Henry grinning ear to ear, or working with laser focus as he handled a knife. But the very best was when I signed him out two hours later.
"You were right mom," he said. "That wasn't so bad after all and tomorrow we get to make pizzas!"
He walked out of the Sur La Table kitchen already looking forward to the next day.
The five day course just flew by way too quickly. Each day the class whipped up multiple dishes which they got to plate and sample. Sometimes if the parents were lucky to be close by they would even let us try a bite or two. Not everything they made was something Henry enjoyed, not everything was something he had tasted before, but I think that is why the menus they have created work so well for kids.
No matter which Sur La Table Kid Cooking Series you sign up for — Restaurant Week or Cooking 101 — there is a balance of familiar and new foods. The staff gently encourages the kids to at least taste what they have created.
Henry enjoyed the Sur La Table Restaurant Week camp so much he asked to do Cooking 101, so we signed up for another five day series later this summer.
As a parent, I appreciated the class was safe, well planned, and a great way for a kid to learn basic kitchen skills and safety.
I also loved watching as my son, and the other young chefs in the class with him, built their confidence and stepped out of their comfort zone in multiple ways.
Listen to Henry's review of the experience here:
Sur La Table offers cooking series for Kids (ages 7 to 11) and Teens (ages 12 to 17) with themes such as Global Street Food, Restaurant Week and Cooking 101. Each series lasts five days for approximately two hours a day. Find details and reserve your seat now because class sizes are limited!
My son received the opportunity to attend the 5 day Kids Cooking Series in exchange for sharing our experience.