As so many moms know, what starts out as a fun bonding experience of cooking with your kids can quickly turn into a parent’s worst nightmare. Pretty soon food is splattered everywhere and only the family dog is there to help you clean up the mess. Luckily cooking with kids doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience. The Good Food Factory hosts kids cooking classes to get young chefs in the kitchen and creating their own delicious concoctions. No more kitchen fiascos to worry about!

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The Good Food Factory was created by Chef Amanda Mascia, who wanted to show kids how food can be healthy and fun. She created a television show around this idea and hosts regular cooking classes for families and kids at The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle. More than 3,000 kids have learned how to cook nutritious recipes and enjoy food over the last three years.

Cooking Classes
Each 1 ½-hour class focuses on a theme and includes educational lessons, including the history of certain foods, why items are eaten on holidays, and even etiquette lessons. Kids walk away learning how to make food from scratch and do everything themselves, including picking fresh ingredients in the center’s organic garden. Don’t worry about your rugrats burning themselves, as the one thing the little tikes don’t do is oven and stove work!

Here’s a peek at some of The Good Food Factory’s upcoming classes.

Cooking Up Stories
Have you ever wondered what Stone Soup tastes like? Have you ever wanted to can blueberries with Little Sal and eat radishes with Peter Rabbit? In this class series, preschoolers will dive into the delicious world of children’s literature. Kids will read some beloved food-themed stories and learn how to cook recipes inspired by this whimsical storybook world. Tuesdays, Sept. 12 – Oct. 31, 10:30 – 11:30 am; $96 for 8 classes, or
$15 per single class.

Haunted Halloween Cooking for Kids
Each week, kids ages 5-12 will focus on a mealtime: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and party, with every feast being Halloween-themed. The last day of class culminates in a Halloween party. Tuesdays and Thursdays in Oct., 4:00 – 5:30 pm; $90 for 5 classes, or $20 per single class.

Art Gallery Opening: Art and Cooking Classes
In this series of classes, kids ages 5-12 will learn the art of entertaining and the creation of art. Each class will have both a cooking component and specialized art creation. The series will culminate in an official art gallery open house, complete with installations of the students’ art as well as foods and refreshments cooked and prepared by the students. Fridays, Oct. 4 – Nov. 1, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, $150 for 5 classes.

Holiday Traditions
Kids will learn to create traditional holiday foods from around the world. Each class will emphasize cooking skills, etiquette, nutrition, and delicious, wholesome fun! Tuesdays and Thursdays Nov. 12 – 21 and Dec. 4 – 18, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, $90 for 5 classes, or $20 per single class.

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Chef Amanda’s Tips for Picky Eaters
Parents often ask Amanda for suggestions to get their picky kids to crave something besides mac and cheese. Here are a few tips that she also incorporates in her classes:

  • Involve kids as much as possible in the cooking process
  • Let kids pick out food from a garden, farmer’s market, or even the grocery store, and give them choices as to which vegetables the family will eat today
  • Teach kids to be your sous chef – let them dice, mince and julienne
  • As much as you can, include all ingredients in a stand-alone meal, since fewer veggie side dishes make for less picky eaters
  • No special-order dinners
  • Offer the meal joyfully and without pressure and talk about the experience of cooking the dishes together

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The Good Food Factory at
The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle
533 Lomas Santa Fe Dr.
Solana Beach, Ca
Online: thegoodfoodfactory.com

Do your kids like to cook? Have you tried cooking classes with your little chefs?

– Leah R. Singer

Photos courtesy of Joann Woolley of Sign4Baby and The Good Food Factory’s Facebook page