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Take a tour of the country through Community House youth cooking classes

By Staff | Aug 30, 2017

With the passion of spreading his knowledge to the younger generation, Community House Resident Chef Jarred Harris is offering kids cooking classes on the first Monday of the month September through May.

“I love teaching them. I want to change the way they think about food,” he said smiling.

That way of thinking shifts after the kiddos stop turning down food because of its name, the chef said. He said when encouraging kids to taste such things as quinoa, they quickly change their mind to “this is delicious” due to them thinking it tastes like popcorn.

The nine weeks of classes will take the youngsters around the world, as they learn how to prepare cuisines from various countries, all nutritional and healthy. The menu consists of plant-based meals, complete with fruit for dessert and whole grains.

“They will learn interesting things about ingredients,” Harris said.

For example, instead of regular sugar, such ingredients as brown sugar, honey and fruit syrup, Harris said is so much healthier to incorporate into a recipe.

A dessert has been added to each menu because when it’s being made from scratch, an individual tends to only eat a sliver instead of the entire dessert.

“It’s so much better than buying and you eat less,” he said.

In addition to preparing food, Harris will also teach the youngsters how to plant vegetables. He said they will harvest vegetables out of the garden and make a salad.

In past classes, he said they have prepared ratatouille using tomatoes and eggplants grown in the garden.

Harris said he loves showing the youth how easy it is to cook because they become excited and share their experience with their parents. He said his students tell their parents what ingredients they need to make a particular dish, which they buy, and the kids end up cooking their parents a meal.

“They get so excited because they see how easy it is,” Harris said.

Proper kitchen etiquette, food and kitchen safety, as well as food hygiene, and cooking fundamentals, will be incorporated into the classes. The kids will learn how to use a knife properly, as well as using a flat top, grill and range to prepare their meals.

He said although the American Culinary Federation aggressive curriculum builds the kids culinary skills week after week, the classes, offered for 8 to 15 year olds, can be taken individually. They are held from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and are $35 per child.

The young chef cooking series includes:

* Sept. 4: Italy mozzarella cheese, ravioli, focaccia, microgreen salad and fruit crumble

* Oct. 2: Autumn in the USA pumpkin and sweet potato curry, whole wheat flat bread, Community House salad, and pumpkin and ginger creme brulee

* Nov. 6: India papadums, raita dip, mango chutney, vegetable tikka masala, chicken korma with pilau rice and homemade ice cream with cardamom cookies

* Dec. 4: Japan vegetable sushi rolls, tempura, teriyaki and pacific rim fruit sundae

* Jan. 1: Spain tapas, gazpacho, whole grain paella and caramel flan

* Feb. 5: France emerald asparagus soup, salmon wellington and homemade sorbet

* March 5: Germany German schnitzels, homemade sausages and dessert pretzels

* April 2: Mexico salsa, guacamole, homemade tortillas and enchiladas and Mexican wedding cookies

* May 2: Thailand summer rolls, Tom yum soup, thai chicken salad and pineapple and coconut fudge

The students will be divided into groups, giving them all the opportunity to prepare the menu before they all sit down and taste one another’s dishes.

For more information, or to register for a class, call 239-472-2155, or visit sanibelcommunityhouse.net. The Sanibel Community House is located at 2173 Periwinkle Way.