Junior Chef Club

In the dark cold winter months, there is nothing better than gathering around the fire telling stories and eating heart-warming food or getting a tray of freshly baked goods out of the oven to taste whilst still warm... especially when you have made it yourself! On Thursday afternoons, 9 students from Mount Carmel and EGA made their way from school to the Skip Garden to take part in the Junior Chef Club, supported by 2 of our Senior Generators, Kaine and Kira. We wanted for the Junior Chefs to not only learn how to cook amazing food, but also to learn about themselves, how we are all connected to other things around us, where our food comes from and our role in helping plants grow.

Over the course of 5 sessions we explored the following themes:

• Field to Fork and back again

• Seasonality 

• Fire

• Session at Rotunda

• Preparing and serving dinner for family

Field to Fork and back again

We focused on harvesting, making and composting. Through the making of a frittata, the Junior Chefs got to know the garden and what grows this time of year. They harvested kale, chard and fresh herbs to go into the frittata and brought all their food waste back into the garden through feeding the worms, each and every one of them getting close to the worms, holding them and getting to know the amazing behind the scenes work that they do. The learning from this session was woven through all the remaining sessions.

We learned about compost and I was proud I didn’t scream when I saw the
worms. We learned that they are so important for us.
— Jannat
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We explored the issue of feeling less and less connected to the seasons and the food that we eat, expecting everything all the time, all year round. By getting creative with cooking with squashes, making bread, a squash stew and squash cupcakes, we learned to connect and appreciate what winter has to offer.

I never thought about seasonality and I couldn’t believe I liked muffins made with vegetables like squashes.
— Jasmine


We were taken back 100,000s of years by sitting around our campfire in the middle of Kings Cross, thinking about the curiosity of mankind in experimenting with fire to eventually realise that they could use it as a source of light, keep away predators, kill bacteria and make food taste better. We cooked dampers on the fire and seasonal pizzas in our clay pizza oven, which the Junior Chefs then served to guests at the photography exhibition in the evening.

I liked sitting around the fire and cooking with it like the ancient human beings.
— Leticia
I liked when we helped at the evening photography exhibition making pizza with the garden’s ingredients and making our guests happy.
— Alyssa

Session at Rotunda

The Junior Chefs got the opportunity to find out how a big world class restaurant and event space is run, we spent some time up in the restaurant of Rotunda learning from the Restaurant Manager and his staff and some time down in the kitchens learning from the Head Chef.

Going to Rotunda and learning about hosting was fun. There are so many things to prepare and to remember, like smiling to the customers even if you are tired and make them feel always welcoming, for example knowing well what you serve, the ingredients and be ready to help.
— Blessing
I really enjoyed going and see the hanging room. I wasn’t scared and It was so interested learning about the different parts of the meat and knowing that a restaurant has its own farm.
— Samantha

Preparing and serving dinner for family

On our last session, the Junior Chefs planned, cooked and hosted their families for a dinner at the Skip Garden. They brought all their learning together from the previous weeks and came up with a seasonal menu, harvesting as much as possible from the garden, cooking with fire and putting into practice the hosting skills learned at Rotunda the week before. On the menu was parsnip soup served from the Skip Garden Bike, pizzas with butternut squash and beetroot toppings coming straight out of the outdoor pizza oven and apple crumble served in the yurt.

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Kaine, 16 years, sums up his experience by saying that cooking is important

because it’s more than just being able to provide for yourself, there is so much creativity involved, it helps release stress and is a way to express yourself. I enjoyed learning from the Junior Chefs about the food linked to their cultures and techniques their parents used. I liked sharing my knowledge, it’s the first time I’ve felt that I’ve given something to others in terms of cooking.