Masters at the stove

Little Chefs

Masters at the stove

Cooking is surely an art and the earlier it is learnt, the better — which is probably why many youngsters in the City are showing a keen interest in cooking. Besides the fact that it enhances creativity, there’s nothing like eating healthy home-cooked food made by children themselves. While some of these kids are self-learners, others are even attending classes to hone their skills.

Twelve-year-old Zahan Gafoor, a student of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, says that his interest in cooking started off at the age of six when he accompanied his mother to grocery stores and chose what he liked. Now, it has become a passion. “It’s his love for good food that got him interested in cooking. He cooks almost everyday, sometimes even making his own lunch before he goes to school. Many times, he comes back from school and starts making dishes,” explains his mother Michelle, adding that he is self-taught. Often, he downloads recipes and experiments with them.

 “He enjoys making pizzas, pastas and hot dogs among other things. We have now stopped ordering pizzas since the ones he makes are really good. He also enjoys baking. Even during the summer holidays, he used to stay at home and cook,” she adds. When he was younger, Michelle says that she wouldn’t let him use the stove, but now she insists that there is someone at home when he’s near the stove. “Of late, many children are taking to cooking as it is good entertainment for them,” she adds.

Agrees Shazia Khan, runner-up of Season 2 of ‘MasterChef India’, who holds classes for children herself, says that learning to cook is the ‘in thing’ among children. “There are a number of up-and-coming little chefs. Thanks to programmes like ‘Junior MasterChef’, cooking among children has become a rage,” she observes.

At the classes, these kids dish out items from scratch. The menu includes delicious items pasta, pizza and banana and walnut cake to name a few. “During the summer workshops, we get a lot of students. After the first year, we decided to restrict the number of children per batch to 20 so that I could focus on a few of them,” explains Shazia. The classes are held mostly for students from class five and above, but there are a couple of them from class three and four.

 Poornima Pai, who holds cooking classes, says that in recent years, she has seen a rise in the number of children coming for the classes. “It’s a change from their studies. Besides, everyone likes food and there’s nothing like making it at home,” she says adding that during the summer, she had a number of children who came in for her classes. “I found that many of them cook very well. The age group of those attending classes is anywhere between seven and 14 years,” she adds. “There have been more children attending over the last few years. Also, with many schools offering cooking programmes, children are getting more and more interested,” she says.

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