Kids and Summer vacation: No homework! No school! No tests! The beach! Playing with friends! Sleeping in! More friends! Camp! Baseball games! Swimming! Fun! Fun! Fun!
Parents and Summer vacation: WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE KIDS?!
Rest easy. Chill. We have some ideas that you will benefit from in more ways than one. Day classes, culinary camps, learning about where food comes from and then what the heck to do with it-you’re little (or big) foodie will be in their element. With any luck, junior will be able to make *you* a back-to-school breakfast by the end of the Summer. Ohhhh, yeahhhhh.
Choose your week, choose your cuisine. Proceed to cook and eat your way around the world. Well, in an almost-Anthony-Bourdain kind of way. At AMG Catering in Wilton, traveling the world is the theme for the summer cooking sessions that will introduce your “Chefs in Training” (CITs for those in-the-know) to a wide array of dishes. These hands-on classes will have the CITs working in a professional kitchen and learning cooking skills that will have them creating “Street Food”, “Regional Dishes” from across the U. S, and a variety of “Small Plates”. The junior chefs (ages 10-15) will top it all off with a cooking competition on the last day. Watch out, Food Network. A word of note: these kitchens are not allergy-free kitchens. Everything and anything (nuts, shellfish, dairy) is cooked here. Cost is $475 per week, $900 for two weeks, or $1350 or three weeks.
Darien, Greenwich, Riverside, Westport
Who isn’t a fan of Debra Ponzek’s Aux Delices? With four different stores in the Fairfield County area, Aux Delices delights so many of us with specialty (and convenient!) meals and creative, gorgeous desserts. What could be better than giving our kids a taste of how to do this? This year, there are 4 sessions to choose from, with the 5-day classes tackling a different culinary subject each day...Breakfast in Paris, Crepes and Cakes, Italian Picnic, Mexican Street Food, and All-American BBQ. Your chefs will walk away with an arsenal of handy skills and menu ideas. Classes run from 3:30-6pm and are for ages 8-15. Cost is $295 per week session or $65 per class.
There are plenty of classes to choose from at Christina’s, but be sure to register soon as they are already filling up! Usually, Christina’s might be the place for cookies, but when it comes to kid-fun, they offer all kinds of goodies. “Camp for Serious Cooks”, offered in July and August (ages 8-13, $180 per child), explores recipe creations, menu design, table setting, etiquette (every parent just yelled “YES!”-I heard you) and kitchen equipment-all good things to know if you are serious about food and creating a great meal. At the end of this camp, a delicious luncheon for families, made by the kids, will cap off this great week of culinary learning. Sounds like a win!
Do you fear flying or just don’t want to shlep the entire brood to another country for a vacation (probably the latter)? Go North, young person....to Wilton. Sally Maraventano of Cucina Casalinga, with the aid of her state-of-the-art-yet-homey kitchen and kickin’ outdoor stone pizza oven (what kid wouldn’t love to cook with that?), creates exciting menus to give kids a hands-on lesson in Italian and Mexican fiesta specialties. Her back-by-popular-demand, 3-day intensive camp for kids ages 10-16, will run August 16-August 18th. From Manicotti di Mamma and Garlic Bread in a Bag to Pollo al Carbon y Guacamole and Holiday Taco Tart, your kids will be cooking up a storm. Day 2 even has a guest Chef who will teach the basics of baking and decorating cakes and cupcakes. Attendees will receive a gift at graduation and a certificate of achievement. Price is $300 and includes lunch.
Silo Cooking School at Hunt Hill Farm
New Milford, www.hunthillfarmtrust.org/index.php?/silo/silokids
In Litchfield County, The Silo Cooking School at Hunt Hill Farm houses not only a gallery and a museum (great places for kids to explore) but also offers a wide variety of cooking classes for the 5-15 year olds in your family. Silo was the first recreational cooking school in Connecticut and is a great “gourmet getaway” with inviting teaching kitchens and a picturesque farm. In June and July, they offer 3-day KitchEncounters, which focus on cuisine from diverse cultures including Asia, Brazil, Russia, Africa and India and more ($185 per 3-day session). The August classes will center on the Summer Harvest, which will have kids creating recipes from the garden (single day classes are $55).
From June through August, Stew Leonard’s in Newington will be offering kids a chance to come and experience cooking, eating, and fun in their Executive Kitchen. From classes for toddlers (Shark Week! Blueberry Madness!) to their summer culinary camp and classes for ages 6-12, kids are sure to have fun in this kitchen. They offer cooking themes such as Around the World, Day at the Beach, Edible Science Activities, Crazy for Cupcakes, Breakfast all Day, Homemade Lasagna and the sure-to-be-loved Oh My, Chocolate! to name just a few of the yummies in this grocery bag. Prices range from $15 to $225, depending on the class and/or number of days.
Sur La Table
In addition to selling all manner of cookware, bakeware, food stuffs, and kitchen-y decor, Sur La Table in Canton, CT also offers a good variety of cooking classes for adults and kids alike. This June, July, and August, in either 4 or 5-day classes, your kids or teens can hone their knife skills and learn to grill, saute, braise, and roast with Kitchen Fundamentals. How about eating healthy or like a caveman? Go for the Healthy Kids/Healthy Planet series. Or maybe your chef-in-training loves both the kitchen and the laboratory...try their new-for-2016 series “Science in the Kitchen”, which explores bubbles and biology, smoke and fire, and chemical reactions in baking. Classes range from $200-250.
Amble with your kids over to this 200-year-old farm to experience the unique joys of farm life. June through August, your kids will love Adventures on the Farm (programs for PreK and grades 1-7), which highlights the farm’s gardens, planting, harvesting, cooking, woodworking, farm animals and more! Days run from 9am-1pm ($330 per child per week. $264 week of July 5). Then on Sunday, August 14th, stop by for their Tomato Tasting and Family Fun day. You’ll learn about heirloom, hybrid and “garden variety” tomatoes, how they are grown and some tasty things that you can do with them. There’s even a contest for the biggest home-grown tomato, so get planting! It’s a potluck “Tomato dish” picnic, if you’d like to participate...just email them ahead of time and be sure to bring a blanket big enough for your friends.