From frittata to fondant, and from Rotunda's meat hanging room to meeting, hanging out and making room for 30 friends and family, I would say the spring Session of Junior Chef Club has been an absolute triumph and a pleasure, says Sadhbh, Global Generation's chef.
With students from Mount Carmel, EGA, Parliament Hill and William Ellis schools the 5 sessions saw the last Junior Chef Club ever.....in the old Skip Garden. Of course there will be plenty more cooking classes, workshops and Junior chefs to come in the new skip garden site open from 20 May.
"I liked going to rotunda, seeing how a big restaurant works and seeing the hanging room. As a Junior Chef I learned how to dice different fruits and vegetables and will use these new skills at home. I think that you can’t find a place like this anywhere else, especially in the city, it's so nice to have green land here and be able to cook with it." - Victoria
In the spring session we covered 5 main themes.
Field to Fork and back again - making a frittata using seasonal leaves harvested from the garden, and quite literally opening a can of worms and learning about worm tea, the importance of composting and how waste food produce can be used to grow a healthy garden of delicious vegetables year-on-year.
"Being a Junior Chef is a unique experience because at school you don’t learn from professionals. I enjoyed working as a group and learning new skills with cooking and to make new meals, especially the frittata. I didn’t know what rainbow chard was before this, now I know what's growing in the garden, how to cut it and cook with it" - Nicole
A session at Rotunda restaurant gave the Junior Chefs an insight into a different type of restaurant set up with foodie games, a table setting challenge hosted by our neighbours on the canal, as well as a tour of the different sections of the kitchen including the ever intriguing meat hanging room.
The Cooking with Fire and Outdoors session saw the Junior chefs make their own pizzas in our brick pizza oven with our new kitchen intern, Joy, as well as dampers over the fire pit.
Not only are experiences like this lots of fun and a somewhat unique opportunity in London, but taking the class outside and stripping things back to basics can help us to feel more connected with our food and simple ingredients, the outdoors and our immediate environment and the nature surrounding us even in an urban area like Kings Cross.
Honing in on Seasonality of produce gave us a great opportunity to make two very different types of sweet treats. The young chefs created a rhubarb streusel; a fresh rhubarb crumble cake that is German in origin, with a recipe brought to us by our other kitchen intern, Lisa. We also made an apple tart tatin and learnt lots of new baking skills and terms.
And finally, on what was one of our first gloriously sunny late Spring evenings, the junior chef's hosted a Three Course Meal for 30 of their family and friends. They put all their skills into practice; setting the table in a very professional manner, making their guests feel welcome, making pizzas and garlic bread in the outdoor oven for nibbles on arrival, producing an array of seasonal quiches (using their pastry knowledge and upgrading their frittata into a quiche) and making nutritious side salads with garden harvested ingredient. They then stood up in front of their families and relayed their highlights of the sessions. They were awarded their certificates by Nicole, Global Generation's Director who also hosted the sessions. Rounding off the meal, they presented their guests with the final course - a dessert of chocolate fondant with salted caramel sauce served with vanilla ice cream.
"What I enjoyed most was to meet new people and learn different ways of cooking and my favourite thing was the chocolate fondue. Now I can cook at home making things from scratch" - Maegan
One of the mum's says "a big thank you to you all for a lovely evening and delicious food - junior chefs did a lovely job , well done! And thank you to everyone there who led the way for them, we really enjoyed it".
I think it's safe to say that the Junior Chefs and their families left the garden with not only a sweet taste in their mouths and full bellies, but with sweet memories and a feeling of fulfilment. They are all, hopefully, proud of their achievement – their new skills, knowledge and perspectives are just the beginning of a long and varied future of cooking and creating!