Consider that most common of cooking ingredients, the egg. If you’re a kid attending Chef Suzy Farnworth’s cooking class, you may never again view it in quite the same way.
“Where do eggs come from?” asks Suzy. “Chickens!” respond the kids.
“What part of a chicken?” asks Suzy. “Their butts!” squeal the kids.
“So,” declares Suzy, “keep your butts [e.g. egg shells] off my clean cooking surfaces!” (Kids all groan.)
Chef Suzy specializes in Kids Fire and Knives, cooking classes for kids age 8 and up, assisted by sous chef Brad Touchette. Why teach kids? Suzy responds: “Many folks know how to cook; many folks know how to teach. A few folks know how to teach cooking – even fewer folks can teach kids how to cook! I’m a credentialed school teacher and have worked with kids since I was a teenager. I started by doing ‘cooking stations’ in my kids’ preschool classes. Most kids love to experiment and love to try things that they make – I find their energy and enthusiasm contagious!”
Chef Suzy also teaches adults at the Art Institute of California and sees distinct differences in the two age groups learning styles. “Kids are less afraid of being right and embrace the process of making mistakes,” she says. “They are less reluctant to just ‘go for it’ when mixing and touching and sampling. Adults want to get it right the first time – they want to be the best on the first try. I emphasize that cooking is a skill – the more times you practice, the better the result!”
At a recent class Suzy and Brad focused on an Italian menu – cheese ravioli, potato ghocchi, two kinds of sauces and dessert truffles. Her next classes on May 16, divided by age group, will be on sweet and savory pies. Her annual Junior Chef Cooking Camp series begins in June.
Suzy lives in Menlo Park close to where she gives classes at the Masonic Lodge on Roble Avenue. “It’s total paradise for me to love my work and to live so close by,” she says. “Plus I have an amazing colleague and such enthusiastic clients!”
Photos by Chris Gulker