Kids eat up with another great project sponsored by Chefs Move to Schools‘ Kathy Gunst and Evan Mallet, as reported by Amy Bevan at Seacoastonline.com:
Author, chef pair up to interest kids in beets and spinach
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine With one of the region’s top chefs at her side, published food writer Kathy Gunst continued her year-long program to educate and inspire Central School students to eat healthy, visiting last week for a holiday-themed cooking class.
Gunst and Evan Mallet of the Black Trumpet Bistro in Portsmouth, N.H., recently held cooking classes with 14 students in Grades 1-3, hand-cutting fresh, festive pasta, colored red and green by natural ingredients: beets and spinach.
“Everything we’re going to use is fresh, so you can taste the difference,” Gunst told the 6-year-olds, as Mallett unwrapped brightly-colored pasta dough nearby. “You’re in for a real treat.”
Mallett first told students of his own enlightenment to cooking, describing “yucky” beets he had from a can when he was a kid. “I learned later about beets grown in a garden,” he said. “They were totally different.”
The children got involved in every step of the process, including tearing basil, grating fresh Parmesan cheese and measuring olive oil, before sitting down to enjoy the healthy dish as a class. It’s this involvement in the cooking process that Mallett believes excites kids to try new foods. “Being involved in the preparation really opened their minds,” Mallett said. “It made all the difference.”
Cranking the red and green dough through Mallet’s pasta cutting machine was a favorite task with the kids. They each got a turn turning the dough into flat, long ribbons before Gunst cooked the noodles in boiling water.
Matt Kenney, a parent volunteer assisting the chefs with his son Jack’s first-grade class, was stunned when Jack, 6, gave the finished dish a thumb’s up. “He was actually really nervous, because he doesn’t normally like pasta,” Kenney said of his son’s hesitation to participate in the special class. “Now he loves it!”
As she observed the cooking lesson, School Board member Laura Leber was impressed with Gunst’s project, part of the national “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative. “I like the idea of introducing beets and spinach to the kids, because otherwise they may not try those kinds of things,” she said. “They’re really enjoying it and they’re learning a lot.”
For article and recipe for “Bicolor Holiday Pasta,” please visit Seacoastonline.com >