KIDS IN THE KITCHEN
For budding gourmets, camp has recipe for fun
Lansing State Journal
EATON RAPIDS — While the aroma of a freshly baked chocolate sheet cake filled the room, Kevin Alverson’s eyes watered as he tried to cut half an onion into smaller pieces. The 11-year-old DeWitt boy peeled the skin from the onion and tried to settle the roundness of the onion on the cutting board Thursday.
Denene Vincent stopped him and gently showed him how to put the flat area of the onion down on the board to safely chop it into pieces.
Vincent, the executive chef owner of Le Chat Gourmet Culinary Arts, holds junior chef classes on the second Saturday of each month and a week-long camp each summer.
“I love to cook,” Alverson said. “I really enjoy it.”
Kevin was one of 10 kids who participated in the junior chef camp this week. Vincent shared kitchen techniques and gourmet recipes with students.
Kevin’s favorite dish they made was a ham-and-cheese quiche Lorraine.
“I want to open a bake shop when I grow up,” he said.
Vincent said she started the kids classes because they can learn about food while having fun.
“Suddenly, they want to try things because they’ve actually participated in it,” she said.
The kids in the junior chef camp were introduced to an herb garden, and they produced dishes using the herbs, Vincent said.
On Tuesday, the theme of the day was “In the French Garden.” Vincent helped the students prepare recipes using ingredients from the garden.
She said she plans to take the Saturday junior chef classes into the vegetable garden later this summer and during the early fall.
“It’s important for the kids to understand where the food comes from,” she said.
“They see it in the grocery store, but not from the farmer’s perspective.”
Stephanie Dunsmore also participated in the camp and enjoyed being with the group of 10 kids. “It makes it more fun when I’m with everybody,” she said. Dunsmore, 16, of Mason, said her mother and grandmother taught her to cook, but the classes offer more instruction at the professional level.”I’ve learned how to make something that I might not like as an individual food,” she said. “But cooked together with other things, it’s really good.”
In addition to doing junior chef classes, Vincent also instructs adults. She schedules classes on her Web site, and people can sign up for what type of food they would like to make.
She also schedules sessions with people individually or privately for groups.
If clients have food allergies, Vincent accommodates them.
“If we have food allergies, we always make sure we cater to them,” she said.
ABOUT THE CLASSES…
• Le Chat Gourmet Culinary Arts, in Eaton Rapids, offers classes for adults, kids, groups or parties.
• Visit www.lechatgourmet.com to view Le Chat’s upcoming cooking class schedule
• Contact Le Chat Gourmet at 517.663.7322 or [email protected]