Cooking up confidence in the kitchen

Owen teaching
Project: Food Skills & Nutrition

On Monday, May 14th eight youth between the ages of 7 & 13 from the Gilbert Park Boys and Girls Club came together at NorWest Community Kitchen to show off their hard-earned talents in the kitchen by cooking a fabulous 3-course dinner for THIRTY of their loved ones (and a handful of my coworkers)!

The youth have been hanging out with me or one of my coworkers, every Monday, for the last year.  They have learned not only how to be safe in the kitchen and around knives, or cooking skills, most importantly, they’ve learned how to be confident both in the kitchen and in their skills.  They practiced measuring and weighing ingredients by making turkey meatball subs (they made turkey meatballs for the dinner).  They applied the skills they learned when making lasagna (knife cuts and knife safety, how to know when pasta is al dente) to making the delicious pasta sauce and spaghetti for the dinner.  They were able to use their mincing expertise when making a delightful garlic butter for the garlic bread they made.  They not only made a Caesar salad for the dinner, they made fresh Caesar dressing for it!  From scratch!!  And last, but certainly not least, they put together their measuring, weighing, shaping, portioning, and timing proficiency to the test (spoiler alert:  they passed with flying colours) and made the most perfectly, chewy, moist chocolate chip cookie I have EVER had!

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with some of their guardians who had some pretty terrific things to say:

Q – Tell us what you know about the program or what you’ve heard about it from your childrecipe

A – “it’s usually pretty exciting for them, they look forward to it”

“[child] comes home and is excited about it and wants to tell me about what she cooked”

Q – What changes have you witnessed in your child as a result of attending this program?

A – “she always wants to help and try and cook”chopping

“they’re more careful with knives and the food, and washing their hands”

“they are more confident helping out, cooking in the kitchen”

“they love helping, especially with meatballs”

Some quotes – 

“I take my kids to church service, and they help in the kitchen.  They always ask me to bring the kids and they are so helpful”

“Yesterday [child] cooked for me (on Mother’s Day) all on her own!”

“[child] is opening up to trying new things.  She’s been a picky eater, but she’s willing to try new things.”

I’m so proud of these young girls!  They have been so excited and willing to learn.  And in turn, they have taught me so much; how to be patient, how to slow down, and how to have the most fun while cooking. Being able to close out our year by watching them cook for their families was a true privilege, and one I hope to repeat!

Written by: Owen Campbell, Community Food Facilitator

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