Do your kids dream of becoming a chef? At the Kitchen Studio Cooking School in Frederick, they can learn to make a wide range of delicious dishes from country French chicken to peach gelato.
Located in Frederick, the school offers small classes and cooking camps for children ages 6 to 17, as well as birthday parties for kids as young as kindergarten age to 16 years.
The school allows kids to “do things that they may not get to do at home,” said Carolyn McAllister, who has taught cooking classes since the school opened seven years ago.
McAllister said that in her class, “We primarily focus on good cooking skills.” She teaches kids how to measure correctly, follow a recipe, handle a knife and chop properly. She said she also helps kids learn how to break down a recipe into simple, achievable steps so they’re not intimidated by the recipe.
“We all work together and have a good time,” said McAllister. “We try to expose them to new foods.”
The Kitchen Studio Cooking School in Frederick has a 5-1 student/teacher ratio. “We really focus on individual attention,” said McAllister. Each cooking class has a teaching assistant to provide extra support and guidance to the kids.
“You do have a lot of people to help you,” said 9-year-old Hailey Smith, a student at the cooking school. Hailey will begin fourth grade in the fall at Urbana Elementary School. “It’s really fun,” she added, saying that both teachers are “very nice.” Hailey said she also enjoys meeting the other students and learning their names, grades and favorite foods.
After taking classes at the cooking school, Hailey said she cooks more at home now after learning to read a recipe and measure ingredients. Hailey feels it’s important for kids to learn how to cook because when they grow older they will have the skills to cook for themselves.
McAllister said everyone needs to eat three times a day. If people don’t learn how to cook their own meals, they have to rely on processed foods or restaurants, she said.
McAllister studied cooking at the Culinary School of Washington in Washington, D.C., and L’Acadamie de Cuisine in Bethesda. Originally trained in baking and pastry-making, she worked as a pastry chef at the Province restaurant for 18 years. Province formerly occupied the space in downtown Frederick where Acacia is now found. McAllister currently has her own business as a personal chef and cooks for people in their homes.
Cooking teacher Keri-Ann Henson said that in the cooking classes, the teachers help kids by “giving them a life skill.”
Keri-Ann Henson, who has a background in education, earned her master’s degree in the art of teaching from American University in Washington, D.C. “I have enjoyed combining my teaching background with my love of cooking” by working at the school, she said.
Henson teaches “Passport Around the World” cooking classes, in which she focuses on a different country each day such as Italy, Mexico or France and teaches kids how to prepare its cuisine. She also teaches a “Celebrity Chef” class where every recipe is from a celebrity chef such as Rachel Ray. Kids demonstrate how to cook a recipe with a partner in front of a video camera.
Kids are typically in class for two-and-a-half to three hours. “We’re busy the whole time,” Henson said.
At the end of class, everyone sits down to eat the meal that the students have prepared. Henson said she wants the kids to appreciate “the time and thought that goes into a nice meal.”
For Henson, the most rewarding aspect of teaching at the cooking school is seeing the kids gain confidence as they learn new skills in class.
“Kids appreciate being given the responsibility that goes with being in the kitchen,” she said. “They actually love to do the dishes.”
For more information about the Kitchen Studio Cooking School, visit www.kitchenstudiofrederick.com.