Easy as Pad Thai

Real life French teacher, and blogger extraordinaire and photograher, Mardi of http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com invited me for a return visit to guide her enthusiastic junior chefs through another Canadian Living recipe.

This time 9 boys, most of whom are about 9 years old, divided and conquered the tasks to create Canadian Living’s Pad Thai, in the Science Lab during their after school cooking program. The kids each have a cutting board (secured with a wet dishtowel) a knife and bowl. They divide up the tasks, so each concentrates on one or two tasks, then adds their ingredient to the others to complete a meal. What a simple yet brilliant approach to teamwork!

By sharing the work, the culinary whiz kids, chopped,

Shallots

Make your eyes water shallots

Meticulously sliced peppers

Meticulously sliced peppers

Cutting shrimp in half

Cutting shrimp in half

measured,

Trying to get the fish sauce out of the bottle

Trying to get the fish sauce out of the bottle

and sauteed ,

Divide and conquer; frying garlic and shallots

Frying garlic and shallots

Shrimp turning pink as they cook

Shrimp turning pink as they cook

their way to piping hot dinner (to take home in containers) in under 1 hour.

Ready to take dinner home

Ready to take dinner home

Pad Thai ready for home

Pad Thai ready for home

What is so special about cooking with burgeoning chefs is both their enthusiasm and their honesty. When I passed around fish sauce for a sniff, I chuckled at the responses: Fish sauce, they told me, smells like, “stinky feet” “ear wax” and “Parmesan cheese.”

I love cooking with young chefs, exposing them to new and sometimes unfamiliar tastes and aromas on a voyage of discovery.

It reminds me how valuable it is to have time in the kitchen (or Science Lab) with kids.

What is your most memorable kitchen moment?