Calling kids into the kitchen with ChefMLK and CLBCO
The Clover Little Big Cook Off exploded onto South African screens in 2014, becoming an instant hit thanks to its unique blend of adult and child teams cooking away in the Way BetterTM kitchen.
This reality television show emphasises how important it is to teach children how to make their own healthy meals; a child who can cook is an adult who will live a long and healthy life.
#CloverLBCO celebrity judge, Chef Martin Kobald, is so committed to encouraging children to cook that he launched the ChefMLK School of Cooking to inspire that fire in a young chef’s heart. Martin Kobald loved cooking from a very young age and it led him along a tasty path to become an award winning and internationally acclaimed chef.
“If you love what you do, you will prevail in an industry that sometimes is not just all glory, you definitely need guts to survive,” says Kobald. “I wanted to share my passion for food and the skills that children need to create their own meals through the ChefMLK School of Cooking.”
Encouraging children to cook helps them learn more than just cooking skills; it helps them with their cognitive development too. Children go through various stages in their development from birth to adolescence, where both their bodies and their minds grow and mature. Children can learn how to cook from as young as three; all they need is the freedom to explore the kitchen safely and to be given tasks that are suitable for their age. Younger children are very tactile, so allowing them to toss a salad or stir in cold ingredients will encourage them to expand their natural curiosity. They are not able to work with hot objects or food, but they can get to grips with washing, stirring and mixing.
As they grow older, children begin to understand the dangers of being cut by a knife or burned by the oven and know how to avoid these kinds of accidents in the kitchen, they can be encouraged to stir eggs in a pan or sieve flour into a bowl. Up until the age of around seven, it is best that they don’t put things in the oven or work with food that spits with heat on the stove top. Then, as they move towards the seven year mark, allow them to cut and dice and peel, to turn the oven and stove on, to prepare their own easy meal from scratch – under supervision, of course; and by the time they are twelve years old, they are intellectually equipped to plan, prepare, cook and serve a tasty and nutritional meal all on their own.
If a child is given the encouragement, tools and confidence to work in the kitchen, then they are more likely to want to cook and make their own food. Some schools, for example, are so open to allowing children freedom to explore their abilities that they believe children aged eight can make their own lunches, cook an easy breakfast and microwave a hot meal.
The ChefMLK School of Cooking was founded in June 2013. It teaches children from the tender age of six all the way up until 16 years various cooking lessons, from basic cooking, knife skills and health and safety, all the way up to sustainable living.
“We teach our children everything, from growing their own herbs and vegetables to baking a basic cake,” says Kobald. “Cooking is such a great way for families to bond and is a skill that children will use for life. They also appreciate their meals more as they know how much work went into making them.”
Speaking of inspiring children to cook, kids (aged 9-15 years old) can join up with their favourite adult accomplice in dynamic culinary teams to take part in the upcoming season of the Clover Little Big Cook Off.
“Our second season of CLBCO is as focused on learning to create great food as it is on family stories,” says Sherian King, marketing manager for Dairy at Clover. “Providing South Africans, both young and old, with the opportunity to learn while bonding and expanding their cooking knowledge, is an absolute privilege and having Chef Martin Kobald on this show is fantastic: his passion for not only cooking but also teaching children brings an energy to the show like no other. Clover is proud to be involved in South African families’ lives, encouraging them to learn and cook together.”
Martin concludes: “Baking and making in the kitchen hauls the kids away from mindless activities that provide little to no space to learn, and gets them and their brains active. I was incredibly impressed with the skills of the children who took part in Season 1 of the Clover Little Big Cook Off as they all had outstanding abilities and extraordinary concentration and determination. I can’t wait to see the calibre of entrants in Season 2.”
Transform your family into a cooking sensation by entering the Clover Little Big Cook Off! Buy any two promotional Clover dairy products before 15 April to stand the chance to participate in the show; entries for the daily cash prizes remain open throughout, closing on 30 September 2015. For Terms and Conditions, go to www.clover.co.za. If you’d like to give your child that extra boost in a fun learning environment, enrol them into the ChefMLK School of Cooking today!
For more information on the ChefMLK School of Cooking, visit http://www.chefmlk.com/