family life / homeschool / personal story

Encourage Kids to Develop their Passions: Thriving in the Kitchen

Our seven year old won tickets to the local festival, including an Iron Man Chef Competition.

We sat in the front row and watched the final showdown: Terra Restaurant vs. Delta Sun Peaks Restaurant.

It was like a live Chopped show.

The tension was palpable, the swear words forthcoming, and prettily-presented plates. The chefs were given a mystery ingredient required in all elements of their meal. There was chocolate ginger brownie with raspberry ginger coulis and chocolate ginger ganache for dessert. Candied salmon, ginger-infused Asian fusion. Poached and rolled ginger chicken.

The mystery ingredient? You guessed it, ginger.

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It was especially entertaining for our ten year old as she’s been puttering in the kitchen as far back as she could walk.

Madelyn could make a tastier gruyere cheese soufflé than I’ve ever made. Her butter tart crust is light and flaky. She was recently musing about making a mascarpone salmon tartar and melon salad.

When we spent time in Kenya, she had ample time to learn to bake bread, cinnamon buns, and a moist coconut cake. Without a dose of daily television, she watched and re-watched mp4 podcasts on brioche, chocolate ganache, and pate de choux over and over and over.

When we travelled around Canada, she learned to make breakfasts each morning: simple toast and eggs, French toast, or pancakes. Travelling always afforded us more time to play in the kitchen. We participated in a French cooking class, a Christmas appetizers class, and 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 that I agreed. Though I enjoy cooking, I get my fair share of food preparation. When she came into the kitchen at 5 every evening and asked, Can I make dinner, mom? This mama 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 learned salmon, chicken, and steak preparation. And she has already honed her culinary skills than most college students.

One day a Red Seal chef? Perhaps she’ll own a thriving bistro in Montreal? Be a super-skilled mom? A marine biologist with a penchant for weekend dinner parties?

Whatever her future holds, the ones she loves will be well-fed.

You can read her blog, Capturing the Charmed Life in the Kitchen, as she spent a year working through Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

In honour of Madelyn’s final year of homeschool, her and I have been creating cooking demonstrations on my YouTube channel. If you enjoy veggie burgers and roast chicken or would like to try a cashew cream pasta or chicken curry, she’ll show you how she does it. Check it out here.


DOWNLOAD your FREE Homeschool Menu Planning Tips


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