Cooking with Children
a guide to encouraging junior chefs
The kitchen is an amazing setting for children to learn, from gaining essential life skills to applying maths, science and creative thinking to working with ingredients.
Food is often at the centre of family life, as we come together around the dining table to share meals and talk about our days. However, it is even more beneficial if you can get together and prepare the food together. Children can get a great sense of achievement from preparing a meal or baking something delicious that they can share with the family and learning to cook from scratch is essential to developing healthy habits which will be continued into adulthood.
Talk to almost any chef and they will tell you their fondest and most inspiring memories are cooking with a family member, and that has stuck with them to help guide their career paths and their love of great food. So, whether you are encouraging a budding chef or simply want to enjoy a fun learning activity, there are plenty of fun ways to get cooking together. Below are a few examples to help get you started.
Tips for getting children cooking
Start simple - Start with easier recipes that don’t have too many ingredients or complicated steps. Baking is ideal as it often involves lots of steps such as measuring, mixing and kneading which are easy for children. Veggie options are good too and you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.
Dress the part – make sure they are in clothes you don't mind getting dirty, rollup long sleeves, put an apron on and tie back long hair.
Safety first – Take the opportunity to teach your children about food hygiene and safety in the kitchen. Ensure they wash their hands before cooking and get them involved in cleaning up.
Plan ahead - Do some of the prep and mis en place yourself and explain each ingredient ahead of each step of the recipe, so the what is going into the dish.
Take your time – Remember this is a good learning opportunity and don’t feel tempted to take over if things are taking a while. Make it as simple as possible by breaking it down into easy to follow steps.
Encourage touching and tasting – Incorporate plenty of ingredients and make sure to sample those that are safe to be tasted before cooking. This will make it more enjoyable for children and encourage more adventurous eating. Encourage use of a clean spoon to taste, not fingers or stirring spoons.
Embrace the mess – Mess will happen so just go with it and use it as an opportunity to teach cleaning up as you go, as this is a great habit to develop.
Have fun – Working together in the kitchen is such an enjoyable activity, so keep it light and fun. Choosing the right recipe and preparing beforehand will make it go much smoother. We don’t want any tears over spilt milk!
Le Petit Cordon Bleu cookery class
Created especially for young children aged between 8 and 12 years old, Le Petit Cordon Bleu is the perfect cooking course to enjoy with your child. In this three-hour workshop, you and your young one will learn essential cookery techniques under the guidance of our Le Cordon Bleu Master Chef, in a fun and relaxed atmosphere which encourages children to develop their creativity and taste. At the end of the course you can take home the gourmet dishes to share with your family.
Why not make a day of it? Classes are held at our institute in Bloomsbury, a mere stone’s throw away from the British Museum and Covent Garden, and one stop on the central line from Tottenham Court Road. After a busy session, you can also relax in Café Le Cordon Bleu, located behind the school in picturesque Pied Bull Yard, with a hot drink and one of our delicious cakes or pastries.
Find out more and book our Le Petit Cordon Bleu cookery class.
Recipes to Try at Home
Our Le Cordon Bleu Master Chefs have put together a few child friendly recipes to help you flex your culinary muscles. These recipes give you the opportunity to practice some everyday cooking skills, explore interesting flavour and texture combinations and introduce some new dishes into your repertoire.
Lime, passionfruit and mango verrine
Coronation chicken buns
Raspberry and chocolate chouquette