No surprise there are many benefits to kids learning to cook. Along with it being a skill they will carry with them through life, being part of the food preparation process can open a child’s mind to different dishes and lead to less food battles. That’s what I had in mind when Chef’s Plate approached me to try their service. It would provide the perfect opportunity to get my kids excited about food and cooking (beyond making cupcakes and pizza).
Chef’s Plate promises to make cooking easy by cutting out some of the work, such as menu planning and preparation. Their 4 Person Plan is ideal for a family, providing 2 meals delivered a week and you can skip a delivery or cancel at anytime making it really flexible.
Since the idea was to get the kids excited about cooking, I involved them in the menu process, visiting the week’s menu list to make our two dinner selections. The only guidelines I had was that one dish had to be meatless (something we’re trying to incorporate more into our eating routine) and that the dishes had to include a major ingredient that we haven’t had before.
Their choices were Seared Cod in a Mexican Green Salsa and Chickpea Shawarma Bowl.
The box of ingredients arrived on my doorstep on the Tuesday in an insulated bag with freezer packs. It may sound odd but the kids and I got a little excited going through the delivery, pulling out the photo recipe cards and the ingredients. I liked that the ingredients were labeled and sized based on the recipes, right down to the spices and olive oil.
Chef’s Plate recommends preparing dishes 5 days after delivery, unless one of the dishes is fish which is best prepared 2 days after delivery. That means our seared cod dish was the first one my youngest daughter and I prepared while my son would work on the chickpea dish later in the work (when his homework load was lighter).
Read Through the Recipe Card
Before starting anything I had my kids read through both sides of our dish’s recipe card. The front provides an overview of the dish as well as some information on the ingredients. Did you know Tomatillos, also known as green tomatoes, are part of many Latin American dishes?
Follow the Step-by-Step Guide as an Observer
The backside of the card recaps the ingredients as well as items not included such as your tools for meal preparation. One of the hardest parenting tasks I find when cooking with my kids is letting them do the work, mistakes and all. This means cutting the vegetables, measuring the ingredients, even cooking on the stove. I tried very hard to just play an observer role while my kids cooked. The only way they develop confidence in themselves and their abilities is if we as parents exhibit confidence in our kids.
Be Realistic About Your Cooking Time
Chef’s Plate creates recipes that can be created in under 30-minutes which makes them perfect to share with kids. The idea is to get them excited about food and cooking and working on a complex 2-hour recipe may result in more frustration. That being said, a 30-minute recipe for you may work out to more like an hour with the kids taking the helm. Plan accordingly to avoid anxiety and stress all around.
Enjoy Dinner with Pride
Perhaps it’s based on my own personal history with cookbooks and recipes but often the end result never seems to live up to the image and recipe expectation. However, I found with both recipes the results were just as promised. This was great for the family eating dinner but even more enjoyable for the kids when it came to presenting their dish.
Both my son and daughter loved their cooking experience. You could see their confidence as they took charge of the meal, reading the steps, preparing the ingredients, and serving the end result. Where I could I gave them guidance, like how to handle certain types of vegetable cuts or monitoring food on the stove.
Chef’s Plate made it easier to bring the joy of cooking into our kitchen, especially as someone who isn’t a big cook. Shipping is Free (service is available in Ontario only) and the cost per plate is about $10.95 Cdn. That’s about on par with a fast take-out meal but the results are far more tasty and offer an experience the kids will love. Don’t be surprised if they want to make this a regular cooking experience.
Thanks to the folks at Chef’s Plate for the opportunity to share this experience with my kids. As always thoughts are my own.