‘Tiny Chefs’ Discover Cooking Creativity in the SSCS ASP

on April 23, 2024

three boys take a tray out of the oven

Could the next Tiny Chef or Master Chef Junior be in training in the SSCS kitchen? Ask the children in the After School Program.

For several years now, Cafeteria Manager Melissa Simpson has been running a creative cooking class for these young cuisiniers. When the final bell rings, the children trade in their school-day iPads for a whisk and mixing bowl.

“There’s nothing like standing back and watching the students amaze themselves with their finished project,” Simpson said. “I take a great deal of pride in that.”

Simpson is always looking for fun food recipe ideas for the children to create. This has included Sugar Cookie Cream Cheese Pizza, Cupcake Creatures, Easter Popcorn, Frozen Cotton Candy Yogurt, Snowman Hot Chocolate, Sleepover Smores and Valentine’s Heart Treats, to name a few.

girl with a hot chocolateAnd just because it’s an after school activity doesn’t mean the learning stops. Quite the contrary. Like any accomplished chef these students are learning proper planning and preparation skills, problem solving, teamwork, artistry, imagination, creativity, enthusiasm and experimentation.

“My students are always amazed at how much math goes into cooking,” Simpson said. “I mean, it’s a shocker to them!”

Simpson also believes that cooking with children can encourage kids to create a positive attitude about food and better outlook on healthy eating and self-hygiene like washing hands. Typically at the end of a cooking lesson, the class discusses if that particular project was healthy or not and they explain why they feel the way they do.

When it’s time to sample their creations it’s done “family style” where the children sit together at a table and share in their success as a group.

girl with a funny face cupcake“That’s important to me,” Simpson says, “because I know so many families today are pulled in all directions that they don’t always have time to sit at the table together. Here, the children get to unwind as they eat. They talk and laugh and share their accomplishment as a team.”

These after school chefs have become celebrities of sorts at SSCS. At most classes someone is available to take photos of them engaged in their cooking projects. Those photos are regularly featured on the television monitor outside the cafeteria for the entire school to see.

“They love to see themselves up there,” Simpson said. “It’s like they have their own cooking show.”

View a large photo gallery of our young chefs on the SSCS Facebook page

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