Kids Summer Camp in the Kitchen

Kids Summer Camp In The Kitchen

Tue 31 Jul 2012

Story by Debbie McGiffin

Introducing Students to the Art and Love of Cooking and Teaching Kids That Cooking is Fun Through a Kids Summer Camp in the Kitchen

One week’s menu: Chicken Rollatini with Basil Cream Sauce; Zucchini and Fresh Vegetables over Pasta; Raspberry Crème Brulee; and much more. These are typical dishes made by the kids (8 to 15 years old) in our Kids Summer Camp in the Kitchen led by Chefs’ Debbie McGiffin and John Lewis in delightful downtown Dunedin, Florida. This year’s camp is the 15th annual summer program.
The Art and Love of Cooking

Each week eager students are introduced to the art and love of cooking. The week begins with instruction on such topics as: safety, sanitation, cutlery skills and learning how to Mise en Place their recipes (everything in its place). For the next three days, a variety of menus are prepared by teams of students.

Enthusiasm reigns, especially on Wednesday when a cooking challenge is introduced. Each team is given a secret ingredient, typically a protein and 20 minutes to come up with a recipe, cook the dish, name the dish, plate it and clean up. The results have been astounding, to wit, five groups of inexperienced amateur cooks have managed to create five great entirely different dishes from a limited pantry selection.

Fridays are extremely exciting. Each camper invites a guest to enjoy a very special luncheon prepared by them. We choose our favorite recipes from the week that demonstrate some of our newly learned skills and put extra love into preparing each of the dishes. The kids are in charge of making the menus, creating a seating chart, bringing in table decorations as well as complete preparation, serving and cleaning up. Typically the kids serve around 40 people at this event!

We have enjoyed many returning campers as well as helpful interns and even aspiring chefs who have gone on to complete great culinary programs.

Our goal is to teach kids that cooking is fun. We have to eat; kids should learn to cook so they can eat well! No processed foods are ever used in our preparations; our biscuits, pizza dough, sauces and pie crusts are all made from scratch.

We take great pride in the fact that kids are AWESOME cooks with plenty of enthusiasm and heart!

About the author: Debbie McGiffin is a Chef, Caterer co-author of a cookbook and a mom who’s heart and soul is dedicated to teaching our children how to eat better. To learn more about Debbie's work check out her website -!


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