Cooking classes are what turn cooks into chefs. Teens in Westchester County can take cooking classes at several gourmet shops or at a working farm. The popularity of these classes has increased as parents have come to realize that children who cook well also eat well. Whether your teen plans a culinary career or just wants to cook at home, there is a class for your child.
Good-Life Gourmet and Chef Central
Good-Life Gourmet, in Irvington, offers cooking classes for home chefs of all ages and levels of expertise. In classes of up to twelve people, teens learn basic cooking and knife skills, as well as how to prepare gourmet treats ranging from tapas to gluten-free foods. The Chef Central Store, in Hartsdale, offers two baking camps in August for 11- to 17-year-olds: "Baking Camp I" covers techniques for making various breakfast breads, rolls and quickbreads. "Baking Camp II" covers chocolate desserts, pies, cakes and cake decorating. Kids at each camp display their creations during a breakfast/brunch buffet for family members on the last day of camp.
Sur La Table
Sur La Table in Westchester Mall offers at least six classes for teenagers. In "Teens Bake Macarons!" kids 12 and older make sandwich cookies with various fillings. The "Teens Cook: Paella Workshop" teaches kids 12 and older how to make the classic Spanish rice dish with various meats, seafoods and vegetables. In "Cooking for College," kids 15 and older make breakfast burritos, quesadillas, pizza and haystack cookies. In the "World's Best Foods," 13- to 17-year-olds learn how to make internationally popular main dishes, and favorite desserts in "Deserts and Treats from Around the World." In the process of making egg drop soup, yogurt and popovers in the "Science of Cooking," 13- to 17-year-olds learn how dairy turns into yogurt, how yeast reacts with sugar and heat, and how and why oil and eggs emulsify. All classes cover the essentials of kitchen safety, as well as how to follow recipes, measure and mix ingredients, and monitor cooking times and temperatures.
Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods
The Whole Foods store in White Plains, which features a fully-equipped teaching kitchen, offers classes for teens 15 and up. The Williams-Sonoma store in White Plains offers cooking classes for teens 13 to 17. Both stores request that you contact the store directly for details due to the variability of their offerings.
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills is a farm, a restaurant and a cooking school. In the "Winter Farm to Table" classes, middle and high school students learn about cold weather sustainable farming methods, as they harvest vegetables, collect eggs and work together to prepare a seasonal snack. In the "forager" summer camps, 13- and 14-year-olds learn about the farm-to-table connection, while they garden, complete animal chores, search the surrounding woodlands for wild edibles, discuss food policy, prepare seasonal food, complete crafts, play games and hike.