Starting it young!

Starting it young!

When an eight-year-old rattles off the ingredients of a masala dosa just by tasting the dish, when a child is creating mouth-watering dishes that can give grown-ups a run for their money, one wonders whether this is actually happening in the Indian society. It sure is.

The show Junior Masterchef Swaad Ke Ustaad has children in the age group of eight to 12 taking part. It shows that a lot has changed in the Indian household. Generally, in many homes, a child is asked to stay away from the kitchen.

Now, the child is not only helping in the kitchen but is making a complete meal for the entire family.

They handle the knife and present the dishes like professionals, making it hard to believe that they are actually kids.

Many professional chefs in the City, in fact, believe that this is a healthy trend. Shyam Nair, executive chef and the CEO of ‘The Travelling Chef’, says that he has seen a genuine interest among many kids to cook.

“And there is nothing wrong in that. With the internet at their disposal and channels catering to the food industry, children are bound to get influenced,” he explains. Many cooking classes and baking institutes in the City have 12-year-old children taking part. Vinesh Johny, who runs a baking institute, says that it is very surprising to see that the kids know more about cooking than the adults themselves.

“I feel it’s a healthy trend for kids to cook at a young age. Cooking these days is more than just making the final dish. It’s about what the child learns through the process. It instills confidence in them,” he adds.

But one also wonders about the safety aspect.  Though in the show, children are made to use special knives and are clearly told to take the help of judges while using the oven or deep frying, in real life, the situation is very different. One of the main concerns is the safety of the child when dealing with the gas stove and fire. Harshika, parent of a nine-year-old girl, says,
“These days, one cannot predict what the child is going to do. No matter how much one supervises, if children want to, they will do anything in the kitchen. Five and six-year-old children are just too young to even think of the kitchen. I feel early teens is the right time for children to start anything as they will have a better understanding of things.”

Abhijit Saha, chef and director of Caperberry, feels there is no age for cooking.

“When it comes to safety precautions, if you are an adult or a child, you need to be careful in the kitchen. I feel cooking at a young age is a good thing as it gives children a sense of responsibility. They will respect the food that is cooked. They become aware of the quantum of work that goes into the making of the dish and they will think twice before wasting food,” says Abhijit.

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