Cooking Camp Introduces New Teen Iron Chef Series

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | 1:27 pm

In recent years, it has been exceedingly difficult for parents to get their children engaged in activities that pry them away from their computer screens, Ipads and video games. Programs such as Summer Art Academy’s Cooking Camp allow children and teenagers to gain new life skills while thoroughly enjoying the process in a tasty week of Cooking this summer.

The Cooking Camp is a program that resonates with many kids as it creates a very hands-on learning environment that will prove beneficial to them in future years. Experienced chefs work with students by teaching classic French culinary techniques and allowing them to create their own cuisine inspired by various parts of the globe. In addition, students learn about nutritional values, kitchen safety and sanitation.

New for teenagers this year, Allen is bringing forth new “Iron Chef” style sessions to add a little spice to the Camp’s classes as an exciting challenge for students. Similar to the Food Network’s show, students will be provided mandatory ingredients that they will have to use to create a dish. Chefs will help walk the students through the process while still allowing the student to take charge in exploring their creative possibilities.

The chefs that conduct the classes are Le Cordon Bleu trained and teach students ages seven to 17 with new themes each week such as The 50′s Diner, Cartoon Cookery and Chocolate Extravaganza. One instructor is available for every five students with each class going no larger than 26 students. The smaller class size allow each student to receive assistance when needed and ensure a safe environment. Students are given original recipes for each class and can bring their dishes home to show off their work to the family. Students can even recreate their favorite dishes at home as all the recipes are posted online at the beginning of every week for the kids to begin their own Culinary School style notebook.

The Cooking Camp was first established in 2005, as a pilot program by Executive Chef Chris Allen, but it took off due to rave feedback from both parents and students alike. “Often there are children that have food dislikes and have strong emotions towards a specific food. Tomatoes for example, it’s amazing to see their eyes open in surprise because they can’t believe it’s so good, and knowing they actually created something delicious that they like with tomatoes, it makes it so much better,” said Allen.

Allen was a full-time faculty member at the Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena and has had years of success as a chef from owning his own catering company, working as a personal chef and being a special demonstration Chef for the Friends of Robinson’s Garden.

Parents notice substantial changes in their child after each lesson as their food palate is broadened and express a newly acquired passion for cooking. It is the Cooking Camp’s ability to enrich children’s lives that led to its selection as the 2012 Best of Pasadena Award in the Culinary Schools category by the Pasadena Awards Program.

The summer program gives kids and young teenagers the chance to be around those their age while learning to cook with finesse well beyond their years. Many students eagerly await the summer to return to the camp once again in hopes to create something that both looks and tastes amazing. It is experiences such as those provided at Cooking Camp that stay with a child throughout their lifetime.

Cooking Camp is located in Woodland Hills, La Cañada and North Hollywood. Classes are available for morning classes, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and afternoon classes from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning June 17 to August 9.

For more information, visit or call (866) 507-COOK.


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