From the July 2017 issue

The Kitchen Crew Pop-up Kid’s Cooking Classes Helps Kids with their Culinary Skills

Local mom aims to help kids learn kitchen safety and culinary techniques with her pop-up kids cooking classes, The Kitchen Crew.

This kid’s cooking class lets the kiddos handle the chopping and whisking. The Kitchen Crew teaches children to prep meals using nutritious, unprocessed ingredients under the careful culinary guidance of Cora Cowles.

Since January 2017, this West Bloomfield mom has offered pop-up lessons at local community centers including Ferndale, Detroit and Southfield. It all started with a passion for fresh food – and a desire to start a business that could include her toddlers, who were 1 and 3 at the time of this interview.

“A cooking class works because if I have my kids there, no one ever blinks an eye,” says Cowles, who also works in digital advertising. When she was a child herself, Cowles says she regularly ate processed foods.

“As I got older, I realized that mashed potatoes don’t have to come from a box and vegetables don’t have to come from a can,” she says. Her classes reverse that trend – and help kids develop willingness to try new foods. “If they’ve gone through the trouble of slicing it up, putting it in the skillet, putting it on the plate, then they’re like, ‘Well, wait a minute. I did all that work, I’ve got to try it at least,'” Cowles says.

Safety is a focus, too – especially for little ones. Crew cooking classes for ages 5-10, which require parent participation, cover techniques, tools and caution in the kitchen. During lessons, also offered for ages 10-15, students have made everything from churros and gnocchi to frittata and German pancakes. All along, they’re developing lifelong skills of cooking and choosing healthy, nutritious food, one meal at a time.

“The goal is for them to be able to go back home and be able to cook one of the meals for their family. It’s really the confidence I want them to learn.”

Watch for a possible brick-and-mortar location in the future, Cowles adds.

Kid-Friendly Strawberry Nachos

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar (+ 2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lb. strawberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly brush tops of each tortilla with coconut oil. In a bowl, combine vanilla, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle this mixture on tortillas. Bake tortillas on an ungreased baking sheet, sugar side-up, for about 8-10 minutes or until edges start to curl. Remove from oven and slice each tortilla into 8 equal wedges. Allow chips to cool. Dice strawberries and stir remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar. Serve cinnamon sugar nachos alongside strawberry dip, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

This post was originally published in 2017 and is updated regularly. 

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