So I bought the Groupon for the Young Chefs Academy of Fort Worth. I finally got Maddie enrolled in a class. I had never heard of it before and thought it would be really neat for my four (almost five)-year-old to do because it's all about cooking and she loves to help me in the kitchen.
It was a little hard to get her registered, only because they seem to never answer the phone at the Young Chefs Academy. I guess they're too busy "cooking up fun in the kitchen." But they did return my calls every time I called, albeit the next day or two after I called and left a message. Would have loved to have been able to register her through their website, but you can't do that if you're using a Groupon
Anyway, I was finally able to register her and my mother and I took her to the KinderCooks class yesterday. The place looked really neat. All the cabinets were painted different bright colors. Everything looked neat and clean. They looked well-prepared because they had all their ingredients ready to go. Chef Jeff was all set to go when the other 9 or 10 kids came piling into the class.
He helped them all wash their hands and put on their cutesy little aprons. And then the class started. It was off to a good start. He explained to them about measuring a cup of flour and how you have to tap, tap, tap and scrape it off to get an even cup. Each kid had to measure and dump the flour into the bowl.
Then, unfortunately, that's where the informative part went bye-bye. When the not-so-happy-to-be "cooking up fun in the kitchen" employee came into the room to help Chef Jeff. For some reason or another, it didn't seem so fun anymore. She took the bowls and the measuring cup and went around to each table and had them do the same thing again. But she wasn't very nice about it. It was more like, Here, kid...you do it and then pass the tools to the next kid. And so it went for about an hour or so. Each time they started at the table to their right. The poor kids at the table to their left got to do hardly anything - they tore up bacon - whoop whoop!
I was sitting there thinking, I'm glad I did not pay full price for this, when one of the other mother's said, Is anybody else underwhelmed at this point? I thought, OMG, this lady is like Sookie from True Blood...she can read my mind. So all of us moms started talking about how we thought it would be more informative...that they would teach the kids more things about cooking - not just have them dump ingredients into a bowl. Maybe they would say, This is cinnamon, kids; cinnamon is a spice; it comes from trees (or wherever it comes from). Not just dump and pass.
Then...get this...one of the little girls kept standing up on her barstool to kind of look in the bowl so she could stir it. The "teachers" asked her a few times to sit down. Her mother went in and whispered something in her ear (which I'm sure was to have her sit down). The little girl was not disruptive - she was not interfering with the class at all. The sourpuss employee goes around the table, picks the girl up, moves her to the side and then grabs her barstool and takes it away...makes the kid stand the rest of the time!! I couldn't believe it. Totally embarrassed the little girl - her demeanor totally changed.
Listen, I'm all for people getting onto kids when they're doing something wrong. There's a right way and a wrong way to do it. That was the WRONG way. Young Chefs Academy is not the place to discipline other people's children.
The mom didn't see all this go down. She asked me, Did she just take her stool away? I said, Yes. After a few minutes the mom went in there and gave her daughter her stool back and told the sourpuss that she could have gone about that whole ordeal in a nicer way. The mom then proceeded to have a talk with the owner of the place...thank goodness.
At this point, that's when the owner took over the class. She saved it. Made it fun. Was very informative. Explained things to the kids. Made it worth the $15 or so I paid.
My suggestion to the owner of Young Chefs Academy of Fort Worth: use recipes that have way, way, way, way less ingredients than French Toast Cupcakes; have smaller classes if possible; fire the sourpuss. Your classes will never be enjoyable for little kids if you have an employee working there who absolutely does not want to be there.
My suggestion for parents taking their kids to Young Chefs Academy of Fort Worth: stay while the class is going on and sit in that little area that you're supposed to sit in and watch the class. If things aren't going like you think they should, go find the owner.
As for me and my kids, I don't think we'll be back.
This young chefs idea is a great concept. It could be so fun for little kids. You've got to have people working there that want to be there, that want the little kids to have fun and to learn something in the process.