In the very beginning of Lupine Lane, we started off with a class at the Lakeway Activity Center called “Tasty Tuesdays”. A group of kiddos came into the kitchen and classroom every Tuesday for several weeks. We made several recipes each day and ended the week by presenting a cookbook to the kids with photos of the process and the recipes of each dish we created together.

It was a ton of fun. In just those few classes, we noticed how the kids opened their minds to trying new foods like spinach (in quiche) and developed more knowledge, skills and confidence using kitchen utensils and going through the different processes of cooking and baking. They also had an incredible time making messes together as they poured, mixed and tried all of the ingredients and combinations.

As we embarked on offering more classes in Lakeway, Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park and Pflugerville, our Kinder Cooks and Little Kinder Cooks–a Mommy and Me class–were by far the most popular. Kids and their families joined us each month to create recipes from a different culture. In September, we’d make Indian food. October was France. November was American. December–Holiday Traditions. January was usually Italian. February was an Asian exploration. March was Germany or Africa. In April, we cooked from South America and May was Mexico and Central America. We would cook from various tropical islands during the summer, along with European nations and other interesting places people often travel during summer vacation.

As we began our preschool, we integrated cooking into each day for lunch. The kids were eager to mix and knead dough, make pasta from scratch and create sauces. They really enjoyed the process and were curious to try all of the elements of a dish and even more eager to eat once it was all prepared. Parents were constantly saying that they couldn’t believe their child ate broccoli or kale salad. Many were asking for second servings of quinoa dishes full of veggies with African flavors or Moo Goo Gai Pan. Everyone was so thrilled with all the kids were gaining from preparing and then eating their lunches.

As we grew, we continued to make strong efforts to integrate the kids into the lunch prep. Now that more than 100 people eat lunch at school each day, we’ve had to pare down what the kids do. However, Mr. Carl still prepares monthly menus that are inspired by a region of the world and our culture teacher visits classrooms each week to introduce elements of each of those cultures to the kids. We also have robust gardening element and make efforts to include freshly harvested herbs and vegetables from the gardens the kids work on. Further, we have partnered with Johnson’s Backyard Garden to integrate more locally grown, organic produce into the kids lunches.

Teachers also integrate cooking into their classroom activities through the year. And, we offer after school cooking classes along with camps during the summer. Kids love the process as much as the product and it’s incredible to see them expand their horizons, both in what they learn and what they are willing to try when they are a part of the experience of cooking the food.

During the week of June 10 to 14, we will offer a Genre Camp for kids ages 4 to 8 called Cooking Around the World. Young chefs will gain an understanding and appreciation of the breadth and depth of food around the world through practical application.  Each day, the kids will discover culinary delights from a different country around the world.  They will create delicious and nutritious dishes, while focusing on the country’s local techniques of preparing and cooking food, the nutritional value of ingredients and the history of food that grows in the region.  Plating methods will also be discussed, as will manners.  The chefs will create scrumptious food while they gain knowledge of other cultures and skills that can be utilized in any kitchen!

Join us for Cooking Around the World or any of the rest of our Genre Camps this summer for an enriching experience that is sure to be a ton of fun!

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