American food chef Matt Dean showed 29 students in the Illinois Junior Chef program at Streator’s Northlawn School how to make pizza from scratch on Wednesday.
But before he could mix the dough, dice the tomatoes or spread the cheese, he had to sort out an important matter.
“Do you like pineapple on pizza?” asked one of the students.
Dean said yes, and he encouraged the students to top their pizzas with whatever they like.
“There’s no bad topping,” Dean told them. “I’ve even seen grasshoppers put on pizzas.”
Dean’s demonstration is just one session of the University of Illinois’ five-day extension camp sponsored by OSF and the Salvation Army at Streator, teaching primarily fourth and fifth graders cooking skills and nutrition.
Dean shared a pizza recipe with the students to take home and gave a step-by-step guide to making homemade pizza, including letting students try their hand at tossing pizza dough and smelling different cheeses.
Allowing students to participate in food preparation, watch demonstrations and sample new items is a big part of the Illinois Junior Chefs program, which has sessions scheduled for Spring Valley, La Salle and Oglesby next, Sherry said. Todas, program coordinator. Camps were held at Manlius and Neponset before Streator’s.
Todas said the students tried raw turnips and beets on Tuesday — and many students liked the taste — and also learned how to peel their vegetables.
Illinois Junior Chefs was developed by the Illinois Nutrition Education Programs at the University of Illinois Extension.
Each class focuses on a nutrition topic using the MyPlate food groups and an important culinary skill, such as measuring liquid and dry ingredients, using a knife safely, grating, peeling, and juicing, among other skills. Classes prepared one to two recipes each day to bring together the topic of nutrition and practice newly learned skills. Students also receive their own cookbooks.
“We love bringing the Illinois Junior Chef program to young people to instill a lifelong love of cooking and healthy eating habits,” said Shasta Hladovcak, community worker and program manager for the U of I Extension. “Participants learn cooking skills like measuring, mixing, and basic knife skills, while cooking some of our favorite recipes like vegetarian chow mein, fruit salsa, and egg ole. Young people are then certified as “junior chefs” at the end of this exciting program. »
Children between the ages of 8 and 13 can sign up for the 10-hour series, which usually takes place over five days. Fourth and fifth graders were the target audience for Streator’s camp.