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Summer Kids Cooking Camp to feature food, fun and learning

By Staff | Jul 13, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED Merit Foster and Sophia Schroy prepare a Mexican dish during a youth cooking class at The Community House on Sanibel.

Making pizza from scratch and ice cream using nitrogen, as well as two “MasterChef Junior” type of challenges, are just some of the experiences one upcoming camp will offer its young participants.

For the first time ever, The Community House on Sanibel will host a Summer Kids Cooking Camp from July 30 to Aug. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for ages 8-14. Each day features a different theme, and families can sign up for $250 per child for the full camp or pick the days a la carte at $50 per child.

“The goal is, basically, to spark children’s interest in cooking,” Resident Chef Jarred Harris, who will teach and guide the participating youth, said. “The ultimate goal is to get them to eat healthy.”

It also fits in with the programs offered through the facility’s Culinary Education Center.

“We thought we’d try it out and see how it goes,” he said. “The classes are very educational.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Two boys in a youth cooking class at The Community House read over their recipe.

The prepaid registration and required paperwork for the camp is due by July 20 at noon.

Harris noted that some scholarships are available for interested families thanks to sponsorships provided by the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club of Sanibel-Captiva and citizens.

“The sooner they inquire about them, the better off they’ll be,” he said.

Harris thanked the clubs and community for their support.

“They make this culinary program happen,” he said.

PHOTO PROVIDED One of the youth cooking classes at The Community House on Sanibel focused on how to make sushi, which the participants got to enjoy after putting in the work.

As for the Summer Kids Cooking Camp, July 30 will focus on bread, soups and sauces.

“They’re going to learn different types of bread-making techniques,” Harris said.

Flat breads – ones that do not require yeast – and loaf breads will be covered.

“We’re going to learn how to make several types of soups,” he said. “They’re going to learn how to make stock, which is the basis for making soups and sauces.”

“Everything will be made from scratch,” Harris added.

PHOTO PROVIDED One of the youth cooking classes at The Community House on Sanibel focused on how to make sushi, which the participants got to enjoy after putting in the work.

On July 31, pizza and pasta will be the highlight of the camp.

“That’s the fun day,” he said.

Using their newly-acquired bread-making skills, the participants will make their own pizzas. Harris explained that the youth will have the chance to make a pizza using yeast and one without yeast.

“They’re going to make three types of pasta,” he said.

They will learn to make flat noodles and ravioli, along with chocolate pasta – a dessert pasta. The pastas will be made from scratch using the “chef’s technique,” which involves a food processor.

“It takes about 20 seconds versus 25 minutes,” Harris said.

The first of two team challenges planned for the camp will take place on Aug. 1.

“It’s like ‘MasterChef Junior,'” he said, referring to the TV cooking show.

Divided up into teams, the players will combine their skills in an attempt to win.

“Some bread, soup, pastas, pasta dishes and dessert,” Harris said.

The facility’s staff and volunteers will serve as the blind taste testers and judges.

“It’s bragging rights for the winners,” he said.

On July 2, the theme of the camp will be “Just Desserts.”

“They’re going to learn how to make everything from quick cakes to custards,” Harris said. “They’re going to learn how to make ice cream from nitrogen.”

He noted that participants might not be able to use some of the skills at home.

“But, hopefully, it will spark their interest,” Harris said of cooking.

“We have flavored sprays they can spray cupcakes with and cookies with, so that will be really interesting and cool for them,” he said.

The camp will wrap up on July 3 with the final team challenge, featuring surprise prizes.

“This is all about desserts,” Harris said of the competition.

The teams will pick to enter one of two categories: cookie or cake.

“They’re going to make one dessert,” he said.

Once again, staff and volunteers will taste test and judge.

“We’ll have prizes for everybody,” Harris said. “Everybody will get something.”

In addition, families are invited to swing by on the last day of camp.

“We encourage the parents to come so they can have a look and a taste,” he said.

The registration fee includes a nutritious meal, plus the children get to enjoy what they make.

Harris explained that many children have two working parents, so processed foods can be an easy solution for many households. The camp teaches participants the skills to create an easy but healthier meal using simple ingredients, such as a pizza. It also caters to the more health conscious families.

He compared it to learning how to make pancakes at a young age.

“That’s something that you will never forget,” Harris said. “These are things they can learn and they can use – it’s interesting and it’s enriching.”

For more information or to register, call 239-472-2155.

For more about the facility, visit online at sanibelcommunityhouse.net/.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.