Chef Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

Our youngest son is quite determined that he wants to become a chef when he grows up and he keeps asking me to teach him how to cook. I will welcome your advice on where to start, or perhaps you can advise on your favorite cookbook for kids, favorite video tutorials or simple recipes suitable for kids (10-12 yo).
Thank you in advance for sharing your ideas!
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
11,765 Posts
James Peterson's Essentials of Cooking is my preferred teaching book. It's not targeted at that age but if you go through it together with your kid I think it can work well. It's nota text book either but justa serious guide to how to do it right. It starts right off with the knife work and how to cut veg. Then works through basic techniques and methods.

Your library probably has a copy but it's available used and new and electronically.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,714 Posts
+1 on Peterson.

Knives: you need to balance your natural terror of handing your kid a sharp implement against the absolute necessity to learn how to use a knife properly. Don't be fooled by the advertising BS: he needs a sharp knife with a straight (not serrated) edge. At his age I think a 5-6" santoku is perfectly reasonable; get something lightweight, decently made, and plan to help keep it sharp.

The Silver Spoon, the classic Italian home cookbook, has a good volume of recipes for young people, many of which assume a level of seriousness and attention that most kids' cookbooks reject.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
I would second the "learn knife skills" sentiments. Really needs to get comfortable and safe with knives. I will third the book recommendation as well. Great place to start. What does he like to eat? Perhaps begin cooking the things he likes to eat and branch out from there. Even if he doesn't become a chef, learning to cook, and cook well, is a great life skill to have.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
2,380 Posts
All of the above. Petersons' books are great. Knife skills are the number one lesson. Then mis-en-place and proper work habits, then essential mother sauces-tomato, veloute, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, béchamel (perhaps not espagnole but he should know about it and why), an omelet in any fashion as well as over easy, med and sunny side up eggs, why and how temperature is important for keeping and cooking foods, and basic baking like a simple loaf of bread and cookies and a cake. Especially chocolate chip cookies. And fudge.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,714 Posts
@chefwriter makes a great point with those classical things. Any fool can learn to make a half-decent mayonnaise or bechamel or velouté; a great one is quite another matter, but there's time. The main thing is, what does he like? One nice thing about a kid is that they can eat anything and not suffer for it. If I were his age and wanting to be a chef, I think I'd want to learn how to make a proper sauce hollandaise and make eggs Benedict ("proper" meaning done in a pan over heat, no double boilers or blenders in sight, and understanding how to make poached eggs, chill, and reheat as well). That kind of thing produces something fabulous and you learn a very real skill.

A parallel is something I picked up from Japanese cooking textbooks, which are very knife-heavy. They'll have a discussion on how to break down a whole X fish in several ways, and then provide a set of recipes that require you to do exactly these things in order to make a few classic dishes. Same for vegetables. The only thing I've ever seen close to this was Jacques Pépin's The Art of Cooking, 2 vols, which is a very old book but good -- but it may not have a lot of stuff that an American kid would really want to make and eat. Peterson does have some of this approach, as does Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Food Lab.

One dish that occurs to me is so-called "French onion soup," i.e., soupe à l'oignon gratinée. Hard to imagine a kid who wants to cook not liking it. But making a stock from scratch is non-trivial if you haven't done it, and then caramelizing a pile of hand-sliced onions, and then assembly and baking -- the result is magnificent, and you know exactly what went into it. Julia Child has a couple of good recipes (though hers are Parisian and thus beef stock-based), or there's Pépin (from the area around Lyon and thus working with more-accessible chicken stock).

Another glory of technique is crepes. Not difficult, and by the time you've made a whole batch it becomes rather quick and automatic. And you can do them sweet or savory, and for most people in America at least they're rather special and seemingly fancy. They're also something you really can't fake with supermarket easy pre-frozen nonsense. You make them properly -- for pennies, by the way -- or you don't bother. Make a double batch, fill half with leftovers, bechamel, and cheese, and fill the other half with jam and Nutella. That strikes me as a great way to show a budding cook, through the fingertips, how technique translates directly into people's happiness.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,450 Posts
I would say that in addition to the aforementioned ideas that you simply have your young son watch you as you cook.
I don't know what experience you have but anything you show the young one will start steering him in the right direction.
As fas as knives and kitchen equipment are conserned, only you can determine if your son is mature enough to handle them. How exciting. I learned to cook ata a young age by watching. There were no videos, or cooking shows back them.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,137 Posts
Eggs cover a wide variety of techniques that tie together around a single ingredient which will help in understanding the different processes and results of using them. Scrambled, sunny side, OE, omelet, soft boiled, hard boiled, poached, scotch, toad in hole, eggs in hell, the list goes on and on. You can also segue into egg sauces as you progress. Hollandaise, mayo, curd, bernaise, gribiche , aioli, avgolemono, the list goes on and on. From there you can segue into eggs benedict, terbiyeli köfte, braised beef with albert sauce, grilled portobello with foyote sauce, the list goes on and on.

It will also help to teach the beauty and respect of an inexpensive everyday ingredient that often is viewed as mundane; but yet in the culinary arts, complexity springs from simplicity.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top