It’s summertime and school’s out! Give your budding chef a culinary jumpstart in our five-day hands-on cooking camp for teens age 13 to 17. No experience is required, but this program is for those young adults who want to acquire solid knife skills, learn to use a variety of kitchen equipment, and explore cooking techniques from around the world. The experience is intended to expose the junior chefs to new ingredients and expand their palates. Campers will cook in teams of two. At the end of each class, they’ll enjoy the dishes they prepared along with provided beverages.
Teen Culinary Camp is led by food writer and chef-instructor Shawnie Kelley, who lived in various parts of Europe for five years and learned to cook all around the globe. She has been teaching for 17 years and will share expert tips, recipe variations, flavor combinations, food history, and culinary culture of each region. Each class runs at a steady pace so we can cover a lot of concepts. Campers leave with all the recipes and the confidence to successfully re-create each dish at home.
We recommend the full five-day camp for the most robust experience, but classes can be taken a la carte. There will be a little wiggle room for customizing their dishes as the week progresses. The Mix provide aprons, but campers can feel free to bring their own.
June 19, 2022, Knife Skills, Kitchen Safety, and a Mexican menu
Day one, students are introduced to the kitchen’s equipment, safety protocols, and expectations for the week. The teens will jump right in to learning proper techniques using a full-sized 8-inch chef’s knife. Each student practices different cuts on a variety of vegetables, aromatics, herbs, and proteins. After preparing ingredients using new knife skills, we head south of the border to put together a Mexican lunch of tortilla soup and salsa with homemade tortilla strips and chips. Students will learn techniques for sautéing meat, building a base for a soup, and adjusting flavor with herbs and seasoning.
June 20, 2022, Let’s Go to Italy
The second day lands us in Italy. Students will learn how to make a perfect pasta dough using a stand mixer, then cut two types of noodles to be paired with marinara and alfredo sauces we make from scratch. Class discussion includes yeast, flour types, pasta shapes, drying, and storage, and approaches to sauce pairing. An Italian insalata rounds out the menu, offering campers a chance to learn about the traditional Italian meal structure and build a classic salad loaded with vegetables and homemade croutons. Campers learn the ratio of acid to fat for vinaigrette and the process of emulsification.
June 21, 2022, Far East and Southeast Asian
On the third day, we focus popular Far Eastern and Southeast Asian dishes. Students will put their knife skills to use as each team prepares their own customized assortment of meat or vegetables for a stir fry along with a sauce they build from scratch. Using our state-of-the-art wok stations, they will learn techniques to stir-fry and manage heat. Each camper will learn how to hand-shape and properly steam pork or vegetable dumplings, which they’ll pair with a sizzling scallion soy dipping sauce. Class then forays into Indian cuisine with a crowd-friendly butter chicken and its distinctive buttery yogurt and curry-based sauce. Discussion covers herbs and spices and cooking techniques specific to each cuisine.
June 22, 2022, American Favorites
American food is so many things, so today’s class captures three snapshots. Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza, which is radically different from traditional Neapolitan pie. Campers will use handmade pizza dough to make mini cast-iron deep-dish pizza loaded with roasted veggies and cheese. The deep dish is topped with a savory pizza sauce we build from scratch, resulting in a hearty, crispy bottomed “knife-and-fork” slice. Class discussion covers yeast, flour types, rising, storage, and freezing of dough. Students leave with skills to make the perfect pizza, as well as their own batch of dough to take home. Each team will create a quintessentially American Cobb salad and learn techniques for making a buttermilk ranch dressing. Finally, our all-American dessert takes shape in the form of a hand pie stuffed with apples and warm spices.
June 23, 2022, Vive la France
The final day is French Friday! Campers learn to make three French classics. Each student will make their own full-butter pastry crust, which we’ll use in two applications. For a savory quiche, each camper will learn about the glories of the egg and customize their quiche filling with a selection of ingredients, which will be made in a to-go pan to take home. The other half of the pastry will be used in a sweet fruit galette, a forgiving and easy way to make a delicious pie. Each student will make their own custom filling and learn to crimp the dough. As the last hurrah, campers will learn techniques for making classic sweet Parisian crêpes. After making the batter, they will practice swirling, flipping, and producing the lacy curled edges that define a crêpe. Ingredients will be available to make a customized fruit compote and homemade whipped cream. And voilà! Camp is a wrap.
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