It’s the beginning of Autumn and tucked away in a Church hall in Crosby is an ever growing group of young people chopping, frying, stirring and tasting the most delicious Pumpkin Curry. The smell is amazing but what is even more exciting is the mix of people this cooking course has attracted. Aimed at ages 7-12 the Little Apples course is full and at the beginning of the session the students are told that unfortunately they will not be able to bring along any more budding chefs for the final week now that the class has reached maximum capacity.
The students are on week 4 of 5 and behind one of the chopping stations stand four young men. Each week since the course began another one has joined, after seeing their friend’s food frequenting Instagram. It’s an unlikely sight but these 4 boys are passionate about the food they are preparing. The owner of Apple of my Eye and leader of this session Michaela tells me that the thing all of the young chefs have in common is that they are foodies. Their interest is confirmed by their inquisitive questions during the opening demo. One student asks about the taste and quality difference between these smaller Pumpkins and squashes compared to the large ones we carve for Halloween. I am impressed!
These courses began two years ago and the class still plays host to students who have been here since the beginning. One student has attended a total of 80 sessions so far but comments on how she is still learning new things all the time. Amongst the 7-12 year olds are a few sneaky 13 year olds who are holding onto the apron strings until the teenage class starts in the near future. The class focuses on a different skill each week ranging from chopping to working with heat. No recipe is ever repeated so students that return time and time again are constantly adding new recipes to their repertoire.
Each student is kitted out in a branded apron which can be personalised and purchased to use at home. All of the equipment is age appropriate and demonstrated at the beginning to ensure correct use. The chefs are given an excellent level of independence and they all work their way through the recipe confidently. Today they are working in groups of 4 in order to use the heat source but often they will work individually too.
The staff range from nutritional experts to experienced teachers and their skills complement each other well to ensure there is the right balance of focus and fun while the cooking takes place.
I love to see young people doing something they love, maybe it’s the teacher in me but there’s nothing more satisfying. As I leave the hall this Saturday afternoon I pass the parents returning to collect their chefs and know they’re in for a perfectly Autumnal Pumpkin Curry, prepared by their own little pumpkins.
Keep your eyes peeled for future courses, including the new Mini Apples course for 1-3 and 4-7 year olds, by visiting-
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