Chef Koochooloo offers after-school programs in some of our local schools and the kids learn kitchen-related math and science skills, team-work, geography, and cooking. They enjoy a meal together before the end of class.
Everyone gathered around Chef Henry, who used an iPad to point out what kind of food they would be making and where it comes from. German spaetzle with roasted vegetalbles was on the menu and they talked about Berlin, the population of Germany, their flag, and the fact that gummy bears were invented there. If you want to see the curriculum, go to the app store and download the free app, Chef Koochooloo and pick a country and explore hundreds of free recipes. They’re easy enough for kids to complete, but also perfect for adults.
The kids helped chop the vegetables as the chef did the cooking. I have to admit, I was worried about little kids handling knives, but there was no trouble at all. Chef Henry passed out disposable plastic knives and demonstrated exactly how he wanted them to cube the thin slices of squash. The chef explained the definition of “saute” and the kids watched him cook the veggies.
Then he had them rip apart a few brussel sprouts and chop a small piece of onion. I loved that Henry made them wash their hands anytime he saw them lick their fingers. Honestly, it was adorable to see them learning valuable kitchen skills.
Several of the boys told everyone how much they hated vegetables, but they were convinced to give them a try, “at least one bite,” by the end of class. They also grated some soft cheese with a cheese grater. Not everyone wanted to eat it, but everyone wanted to try grating it.
I met Layla Sabourian, the founder of Chef Koochooloo, at TechCode in Mountain View. Her company went through the start-up incubator. Her mentor is Dr. Michael Brenner, Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics Harvard College Professor, who recently spoke to an audience at TechCode about cooking classes being used to teach math and science to Harvard students. Chef Koochooloo is doing the same thing for Mountain View kids! I think it’s amazing that our kids are being taught something very similar to what’s happening at Harvard.
Each school has a different contract and set of guidelines for Chef Koochooloo to follow on their campus. I was pleased to hear that Mistral and Castro PTA figured out a way to pay for their students to have this program. No child, at that school, will ever be turned away for lack of funds.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if every school could do that? If you have the power to help make this happen in one of our schools, please consider helping make it happen. I think Layla would be happy to talk to anyone who might have questions about the program and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.