Our seven year old is in the fill-out-every-contest stage…and the first thing she submitted, she won! Tickets to the local Thrive Festival! A boon for me, because I love a velvety jazz concert. So her and I attended one on Saturday. On Sunday, we all headed to the local Iron Man chef competition. We sat in the front row and watched the final showdown: Terra Restaurant vs. Delta Sun Peaks. It was like a live Chopped show…the tension was palpable, the swear words forthcoming, and finally, pretty plates presented. Chocolate ginger brownie with raspberry ginger coulis and chocolate ginger ganache. Candied salmon, ginger-infused Asian fusion. Poached and rolled ginger chicken. The mystery ingredient? You guessed it, ginger.
It was especially entertaining for our chef ten year old. She’s been puttering in the kitchen as far back as she could walk. She makes a tastier gruyere cheese soufflé than I’ve ever made. Her butter tarts are light and flaky. She was recently musing about a mascarpone salmon tartar and melon salad. Fancy though it is, and daring as her tongue might be, I suspect she’ll not enjoy the raw fish texture.
When we were in Kenya, she had ample time to bake bread, cinnamon buns, and perfect her coconut cake. Without a dose of daily television, she watched and re-watched video podcasts on brioche, chocolate ganache and pate de choux.
In Fort St. John, she made breakfast each morning: could be simple toast and eggs, might be French toast or pancakes. Always more time to play in the kitchen when we’ve been travelling. We’ve participated in a French cooking class, a Christmas appetizers class, a pasta-making class. Certainly she’s had more time to bake and cook and play in the kitchen since her life revolves around home.
When she volunteered to do the weekly menu planning, you might not be surprised, I went for it. Though I enjoy cooking, I get my fair share. When she came into the kitchen at 5 every evening and asked, can I make it, mom? This humble mother stepped aside. I went to the other room, so I wouldn’t stand over her shoulder to control her every move, wipe her every drop and micro-manage her experimentation. She’s learning salmon, chicken, and steak preparation. She already has more honed culinary skills than most college students.
One day a Red Seal chef? A thriving bistro in Montreal? A super-skilled mom at home? A marine biologist with a penchant for weekend dinner parties? Whatever her future, the ones she loves will be well-fed.