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Cooking Up Lasting Memories

by Elyse Glickman

Dec 29, 2017

Anutr Yossundara | Dreamstime

Listicles

There’s nothing like a family trip to encourage kids to push their taste buds beyond the realm of peanut butter and jelly. However, a well-organized cooking class worked into a vacation can do more than just cook up inspiration, curiosity and enduring memories.

 

It can be argued cooking classes at various resorts can teach a necessary life skill that will serve kids later in life. However, an important thing to consider is cooking lessons can further enhance what kids and teens learn at school, applying skills they’ve learned in math, social studies (history) and reading. Other classes include discussions on nutrition and insight on future careers.

 

At Grand Wailea Maui the youngest foodies will learn the basics of cooking through the creation of their favorites in its Play with Your Food program at Café Kula under the supervision of the chef, perhaps whetting their appetite to help out in the kitchen at home. The weekly class, about $55 for a family of four, runs during the 5–7 p.m. dinner hour, which can be both calming and nurturing after an active day at the beach, pool or family trek.

 

During summer months, the Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables in Miami fuses summer camp and family time with its week-long camp for kids aged 9 through 16. At the intensive program ($520), with classes organized by age, kids advance their skills under the supervision of the hotel’s professional cooking team 9 a.m.–2 p.m. After class, families can enjoy together time at the resort’s other amenities where kids will no doubt want to share what they’ve learned.

 

The Ritz-Carlton Chicago offers a camp experience in a daily format. This urban adventure begins when participants are greeted with their own chef hat at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant Deca and then spirited into an exclusive behind-the-scenes kitchen tour, followed by a cookie and cupcake decorating session that adds a sweet new perspective into what happens in the making of the hotel’s signature sweets cart, which, by request, meets visiting families on arrival.

Family cooking class

Family cooking class. Photo: Anutr Yossundara | Dreamstime

 

The Essex Resort and Spa takes things to another level with its Camp Cook program from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., where kids and teens seriously considering a culinary career get intensive hands-on lessons. During the five-day Vermont cooking adventure, participants learn about nutrition, food prep, techniques and putting their own spins on a variety of recipes. Students pick their own herbs and vegetables from the on-site gardens and collecting eggs from resident hens.

 

At Flavors of Fiji at the Denarau Industrial Estate at Nadi on Denarau Island, Fiji, adults and kids can spend a day (9:30 a.m.–2 p.m., $180, adults, $130, kids) trek local markets with resort cooks, who share their formative childhood cooking stories. Once the participants return to the estate, they pull together home-style Fijian and Indo-Fijian dishes, while learning about interesting medicinal and nutritional values of ingredients used in the process. The company also offers Kaiviti Magiti (“Local Feast”), another take on exploring the Fijian culture and history through food offered Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. ($155, adult; $105, kids).

 

Four Seasons resorts in destinations like Chiang Mai and Malaysia offer eye- (and palate-) opening interactive classes for children ages 8–12 that are junior versions of classes offered to adults, featuring interesting ingredients, state-of-the-art kitchen facilities and instruction. All ingredients are prepped in advance to allow the focus to be on ingredients some kids may learn about for the first time.

 

Kids who love Mexican food can broaden their horizons at CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort during Kids’ Cocina, part of the resort’s kids’ program. Participants ages 4–12 engage in a variety of things running the gamut from baking and decorating traditional cookies to perfecting their quesadilla-making techniques to preparing a multicourse fiesta of flavorful delights.

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