Cooking Camp is What’s For Dinner

Cooking Camp for Kids

My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei. went to a cooking day camp for a week. It was an expensive week but when you factored in the meals she brought home that fed our family of five, it was a bargain. We would get a breakfast baked good, two desserts, entrée, sides, and salads from recipes of FoodTV network stars. One day there was homemade pasta using a recipe by Mario Batali! I think the amazing creamy polenta was his too.

My daughter cooked for five hours with one hour off for lunch where they watched FoodTV and chatted with friends. Her cooking instruction included soup to nuts, from cutting up raw ingredients to cleaning up. She was completely wiped at the end of every day. Many years ago, she said that she wanted to be a chef when she grew up. “Imagine cooking for 14 hours,” we told her. Reality check.

Still, she offered to cook dinner for us and I believe this includes clean up. Finally, the stand mixer I bought a decade ago will be used. The idea of preparing food from ingredients is the basis of the Real Food video below. Food made with love becomes an event that bonds people around the table. And now my daughter can happily take a turn in the kitchen.

Dinner ready every night! And real food!  This is the best camp ever!

Great Cookbooks for Kids

Williams-Sonoma Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food by Stephanie Rosenbaum

Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids by Rachael Ray

New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking) by Jennifer Darling

View book at Amazon by clicking on image or purchase here at Barnes and Noble.


p.s. Mom friends also say it’s worth the trek to a professional cooking school that does summer classes for kids.

p.p.s. This video on real food gives a great message to kids and adults and is from Humble Feast. Spectacular images used on video credited here.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. My kids did this camp, too, and oncethey both went we had so much food we brought it to the neighbors. My, we were popular that week! I do like the structure of the Cambridge Culinary better. Add this with a week at Land’s Sake Farm and you have a great match up!
    Capability recently posted…Fun Scavenger Hunt from Edible ArrangementsMy Profile

    • Hi CapabilityMom,
      I like that lineup of camps!!! We will try that next year. Thanks for the rec for Create A Cook; it’s why I did it this year and I took your advice and signed them up in December because it fills up so fast!!

  2. vanita

    oh this is wonderful. vanessa would love a cooking class. will have to check out the fun food book while i look for a weekend class around here. thanks so much
    vanita recently posted…Bomb In My Baby’s BellyMy Profile

  3. Dee

    Something I miss about the Boston area is all the educational opportunities like this. We have some good camps here in New Orleans, but that sounds amazing! Actually as food-oriented as we are here, it’s surprising we don’t have something like this.

    Have you used the new BHG Junior Cookbook for Kids? We have an older one (actually a borrowed copy) and I’m a little underwhelmed. Most of it is not “cooking.”
    Dee recently posted…Playing to your StrengthsMy Profile

    • Hi Dee,
      You have such a great food culture down in New Orleans. I’d ask around to see if any of the chefs offer classes for kids. I bet they do or could be persuaded to do it in their restaurant kitchens. Check your local city classes for kids schedule. Or even email them to see if they would put one together. It’s very popular in Boston and the chefs who are doing it are celebrity chefs who just do one class for youngish kids.

  4. Asianmommy

    Wow–what a fabulous program. Wish we lived nearby!

  5. Ann

    I know my daughter would love this when she gets older!!!
    Ann recently posted…Oops!My Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      It’s fun and now the trick is to see if I can get my kids to cook dinner at home! That would be awesome and I could use the help! Today, PickyKidPix (my middle child) is laminating and binding the recipes into a book so it’s easy for her to use. The camp gave us a PDF of all the recipes they used.

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