Kitchen Kids - Parenting Tips on Cooking with Kids
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Chef Gino Campagna from the Kitchen Kids explains how to make cooking fun for children and yourself.


Gino: To everybody, my name is Gino I am Italian, I'll be working with children all my life. Mostly in the last 12 years I have been cooking with children. Parents always ask me, Gino you are so great with kids. What can I do with my kids to have fun? And I always say well, we all have to eat and cooking is a great chance for you to bond with your kids. Cooking with children's is a great way to build a team work and to advance your knowledge of science and math and it's great for your creativity. The way I do it is simple. I prepare a lot of the ingredients before hand, before I start cooking with kids and then when the time comes to cook its fun, it's easy. I let them explore, there is no right way, there is no wrong way, we just basically have a lot of fun. Let the kids taste, smells, a touch, look at the -- at the color, at the flavors, at the food. It's a great way to explore, to expand their knowledge of food. You will see they will try food, they'd never tried before. When I cook with children I try not to be specific on a recipe. I try to give children the essence of a recipe and then work there creativity to it. Of course nobody knows your own child like yourself, so I am not going to try to tell you exactly what to do. Here is a couple of tips that maybe can help. First of all, the magic rule; Make sure that before and after cooking you and your children wash your hands. Let your children use tools that are age appropriate. Knives, scissors the same things goes for stove and oven. Make sure that you are comfortable with your children working around them. Another question I hear all the time is parents asking me, what their kids can do at a specific age? Preschoolers can do a lot of basic thing in food preparation, pouring, mixing and kneading. The skills of kids in elementary school are even more sophisticated. They can read the recipe, measure; help you out, pretty much plan in their own recipe. Pre-teen, well there is no limit to what they can do, you know it already. Go to a farmers market to a farm, see where food comes from. Add the kid smell it, touch it, and see what food is. Remember fresh is always best. In Italy, you sit around the table and eat all your meals and I say why can't we do it here? Believe me preparing food altogether with your children is a great excuse to sit around and actually eat the food of your labor. Make it fun, make it loose, don't make it too complicated and don't make it too long. You know some times kids attention span is limited. But if you make it fun, interesting those stick along for a long time. Finally you are going to love this. The family that cook together well cleans off together.