KIDS CAN COOK!

Kids in the kitchen are the best, I don’t care what anyone says!  A while back I had the privilege of tutoring two young chef-to-be’s while shooting a video segment for the AIB Network series Kids Can Cook.  It was a great experience and really made me stretch my culinary creative skills.

Never throw away a business card.

Quite some time ago I bumped into a very nice lady at a local wine tasting.  She was very intrigued by my career as a freelance chef, and was super-interested in the fact that I teach cooking classes.  She mentioned that she worked for a local internet channel called the AIB Network.  They were always looking for content for their shows, and she took my card and gave me hers, in the event we could ever collaborate.

I never thought about it again until I got a call from another young lady from the AIB.  They were looking to shoot episodes for their series “Kids Can Cook”, which is all about taking children into the kitchen and teaching them some simple recipes, and giving them hands on experience in cooking.  She wanted to know if I could be available to host a couple of episodes?

Of course I said yes, not even asking details about where we would shoot or how many kids would be involved or what we would be making.  And that is typical of me when I am excited about an opportunity – just so you know.

The young lady, Samone, was very happy that I was willing to participate.  She then queued me into the details of how they produce the show.

  1. They provide the children and the camera crew
  2. There is no 2.

They needed me to provide the menu, the recipes, the kitchen location to film in, all the utensils, pots and pans, and the food (for which I’d be reimbursed).

And that did not dampen my enthusiasm one bit.  The idea of being able to perform my craft in front of a camera, with kids to act as my kitchen staff, was still just as exciting.  I explored possible areas where I could use a kitchen that would be photo-friendly and, most importantly, free.  But between scheduling and expenses I couldn’t find anything.  I shoot my own videos in my home kitchen, however.  If it worked well enough for me and my iPhone camera and Nikon, surely it would accommodate a full camera crew with lights and sound gear and gaffers and key grips (what ever all that is).  I confirmed with Samone that my home kitchen would be okay and went to work on the menu.  And sure enough, when the crew showed up, they made the space work like true pros!

What do you make for kids you don’t know, who may or may not know how to cook, who may be between the ages of 6 – 12 years old?  And how do you put the unique twist on it that makes it extraordinary, for which Chef Jack is internationally famous for? (Hey, I have fans in Canada and… other places…)

In the end I turned loose the planning process and let inspiration take the wheel.  I crafted some kid-friendly options that I knew they wouldn’t be doing on any of the other episodes.

And that’s how, on my first episode, we ended up making:

  • Chicken and Hot Dog Enchiladas
  • Lime and Cilantro Herbed Rice
  • Mini Donut and Troll-Colored Frosting Push Pops

I don’t know if we broke new culinary ground, but we had a great time!  Everything tasted great, too!  And I think the kids learned a few things, got to sample a cuisine they’d never had before, and helped make their own meals.  And that pretty much sums up my teaching philosophy about cooking anyway.

I had a great experience with AIB Network, and look forward to future collaborations!

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