December 25

Behind The Scenes: Chef Training for Winter 2015

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I’d like to take you “Behind The Scenes” of what we do at LIFT Enrichment.  Our focus has always been to provide the best Lego Robotics and Cooking classes for kids.  Those cooking classes take a lot of time to create, from researching the featured dish’s origin story to writing the perfect recipe for a 1-hour enrichment class.

One of my favorite days of the year is when we have our “Chef Training” Session, which is when our Chef Teachers come to our office kitchen to cook ALL Day.  Our most recent training session was Friday, Dec 19th and was a 7 1/2 hour cooking extravaganza to practice six recipes for our upcoming “The Science of Cooking” classes that starts in January 2015.  These classes will feature dishes from around the world and highlight key facts about nutrition and healthy living for kids.

The dishes we made were:

Sauteed Kale Bruschetta

Peruvian Quinoa Soup
Peruvian Quinoa Soup

Sushi (California Rolls & Avocado-Cucumber Rolls)
sushi

Greek Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola
greek yogurt parfait

Chicken Caesar Wraps
chicken caesar wrap

and… Chocolate Covered Strawberries
IMG_0577

During the cooking we experimented a lot, using our taste buds to make sure the final product was flavorful and simple to prepare.

Challenges included:
For the homemade granola, how can we make pan-fryed version of this dish that’s as good as traditional granola baked in an oven?  (Remember that in most schools we don’t have access to an oven, as we can only use our hot plates)

Answer:  Flavor the old-fashioned oats with cinnamon, vanilla, honey, brown sugar, a pat of butter and cook on a pan over a low simmer.   The key is letting it cool on a plate covered with aluminum foil for 10 minutes before serving, which allows the granola to stick together and the flavors to mesh.

How can we get kids to eat kale?

Answer:  Since kale has a distinct, somewhat bitter taste, we cooked it down with olive oil and garlic in a pan and finished it with grated Parmesan cheese.  Still, you’d never forget you’re eating kale.  We decided to serve it on top of toasted bruschetta with a bit of goat cheese.  The crunchy appetizer bite tasted delicious and I’m excited to see how kids respond to it.

chef diana cooking
Chef Diana making Peruvian Quinoa Soup

One of my favorite parts was watching these teachers, most of whom have never met each other, go from strangers working for the same company to bonded colleagues.  Why?  Because cooking brings people together!  It’s an activity that’s fun and interactive.  People must work together to mix, chop, whisk, saute and (most importantly) TASTE everything that goes into a dish.

By the end of our cooking session, everyone was proud of what we had made (and tired from all that cooking and cleaning!)  Still, we found enough energy to kickback and EAT all those delicious foods we made.  The quinoa soup was warm and hearty while the parfait a refreshing breakfast treat.  The kale and sushi were great appetizers that were a hit at a recent family gathering.  The warps were excellent…and ending it all with those tasty strawberries decorated with white chocolate drizzles and even a tuxedo were heavenly.

group photo chefs funny
Good job chefs!

To Signup for our “The Science of Cooking” classes, click on our “Enrichment Page” and click the button at the top to register.

Read More:  Dinner At Our Kid Restaurant

 


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Eric Horwitz

About LIFT

Eric founded LIFT Enrichment in 2010 because he wanted to help young kids develop their culinary skills so they could make healthy foods for friends and family for the rest of their lives.  He has worked with kids for over 15 years and enjoys their energy and enthusiasm for learning new things.  Eric studied abroad in Italy while at UCLA and discovered a passion for cooking.  

Eric Horwitz, Ceo of Lift

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