Summer Fun in Full Swing: Kids and Chefs

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Transylvania County 4-H Summer Fun is in full swing! Here at the N.C. Cooperative Extension: Transylvania County Center, we kicked off our 2024 season with Kids and Chefs, a week-long summer camp focusing on youth development in the world of culinary arts. Each day, our group of 10 kids was given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with local chefs, experimenting with different foods and cooking techniques.
Chef Doug Fisher, the lead chef from Falls Landing, opened up our week with a focus on chopping, slicing, and dicing’. The morning started off with a Q&A where one asked “What is the most challenging part of being a chef?”, Chef Doug answered “Time Management”. Throughout the week, the kids got to experience the challenge of time management firsthand. Tackling homemade recipes in an allotted time frame is no easy task, but the kids performed beautifully.
Day two, Chef Nicole Fogarty, the Manager and Owner of Slope Side Tavern, explored the differences between steaming, roasting and grilling. Using broccoli, the kids pointed out key differences in taste and texture by cooking in three different ways. Each kid was encouraged to taste what they made. One of the campers stated “I will try everything at least once. Because you’ll never know if you’ll like it or not”, and this day she discovered that she actually loves broccoli!
Day Three was led by Extension staff and 4-H volunteers and themed ‘Simmering Sauces and Sauteing’. Kids, parents, and staff toured Clem’s Organic Garden to learn how food ends up on the table. After picking blueberries and returning to the kitchen, the youth made their own pizza sauce.
Day Four revolved around baking. Katina Hansen, owner and baker at Blue Ridge Bakery, came in to host the first Kids and Chefs baking day. The kids got to take home panna cotta and focaccia bread, setting a precedent for future camps!
On the final day, the kids all worked together to use skills obtained from the week to take charge and assemble lunch all on their own. Chef Mark Starr, the Advent Health Hospital Food Service Director, oversaw and managed the kitchen as the kids made Chicken Marsala, Classic Risotto, Classic Caesar Salad, and Berry Parfaits.
Overall, Kids and Chefs 2024 was a success! Not only did the kids walk away with skills and memories to last a lifetime, but all staff and volunteers did as well.
The author of this article is Jesse Chappell and summer intern with North Carolina Cooperative Extension and NC State student.