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Hot outside and they're in the kitchen

Summer camp grooms future culinary gurus

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Chef Luc Jean (left) takes the cupcake pan from Jaime Doyle and places it in the oven with Justine Leslie (foreground) and Liam Gereta.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Chef Luc Jean (left) takes the cupcake pan from Jaime Doyle and places it in the oven with Justine Leslie (foreground) and Liam Gereta. Photo Store

So, dude, this totally awesome zucchini bread, where'd you get that?

Made it from scratch, at the Kids Cook summer camp run by Red River College's school of hospitality and culinary arts. Kids eight to 12 are having a hoot this week in the heart of downtown.

"We've talked about making soufflés, which would be super-exciting," said Scotia Fullerton-Collison, who's going into Grade 7 at Balmoral Hall School.

"I've enjoyed learning everything from scratch," said Scotia, who wants to learn to cook both for herself when she's on her own and for her family.

Same with Liam Gereta, who is going into Grade 8 at École River Heights Junior High. "I wanted to learn to cook for myself... from scratch," said Liam, whose parents own Mise Bistro.

He intends to take his parents shopping, because they don't tend to have a lot of ingredients sitting around the kitchen, he said.

'Yesterday, we made zucchini bread. I like that it doesn't have a zucchini taste -- I don't like zucchini'

"What really surprised me was, we made butter out of cream," Liam said. That would be in the science portion, immediately after the lunch they made in the morning, and right before baking-to-take-home class.

Rough life, eh?

"Yesterday, we made zucchini bread. I like that it doesn't have a zucchini taste -- I don't like zucchini," Liam explained.

Justine Leslie said she comes "because I like baking, like banana bread." She's entering Grade 4 at Springfield Heights School.

She's into baking cookies; which kind "doesn't matter."

And Justine was surprised to hear "Chef" tell the kids that "sour cream is in a lot of things."

"Chef" would be Luc Jean, the camp instructor and a faculty member at the culinary arts school.

"I'm surprised at how engaged they are," Jean said. "Look at them doing dishes."

They're washing the dishes, parents -- repeat, there were numerous confirmed sightings of children scrubbing dishes with soap and water.

They've discussed sanitation, said Jean, though most professional chefs, one hopes, would not scoop icing and pick it off their finger quite that often. "You show them an industrial dish machine, and it looks like a spaceship -- they want to use it," Jean said.

"I try to do everything the kids like, but healthy," said Jean, who uses the best pasta and Asiago cheese to make mac and cheese. The kids roasted a chicken to make wraps.

One day this week, "We're going to talk about the anatomy of an egg -- why some are brown, why some are white," and why the method of cooking makes eggs so amazingly different.

"We talk about food safety," said Jean, who watches carefully if the kids need to use a knife or get near a stove.

Margaret Braid, continuing education program manager, said Jean was delighted to go into a kitchen of kids after RRC studied similar food camps across Canada.

There are 11 kids eight to 12 this week, another 16 aged 10 to 13 next week, and kids on a waiting list will probably have to wait until next summer, when Kids Cook looks like a pretty good bet to be back.

At $375 plus GST, with only the best ingredients, it's an expensive one-week camp, said Braid. Next year, "We're looking for sponsors for kids who may not be able to afford this," she said.

"This is educating the eaters of the future," said Dean Keith Muller.

Braid said the culinary arts school is looking at potential programs to expand the downtown campus into the community, including a proposal to bring in at-risk students 14 to 18 three days a week to learn to cook and shop.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 18, 2013 A2

History

Updated on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 6:42 AM CDT: replaces photo

7:32 AM: corrects spellings with é, É

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