Children are hungry to learn how to cook! This was the motivation behind creating Sprouting Chefs, LLC, an Ann Arbor based culinary school specializing in hands-on cooking classes for children, ages 8 and older. Established in March 2016, Sprouting Chefs offers themed, 3 hour classes held in the spacious and sun-lit kitchen facility inside Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at 1500 Scio Church Road. On any given Saturday during the school year (summer classes are offered during the week), you can find 10 children honing their knife skills,working in teams and creating a variety of flavorful dishes. This past week in the Asian Inspired class, they prepared a Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry with a Ginger & Orange Sauce, Vietnamese Spring Rolls with a Hoisin-Peanut Dipping Sauce and freshly baked Orange-Scented Fortune Cookies. Every class ends with a sit-down meal and leftovers are taken home to share with family.
Owner and Founder, Lilian Anderson shares, “I don’t teach children any differently than I would a class of adults. They are just as capable, creative and eager to learn. It’s wonderful to see how engaged they are, and willing to try new flavors and foods. What is especially neat is watching them come in as strangers and leaving having made new friends. The social aspect behind cooking and eating together really shines through”.
For the second year now, Sprouting Chefs also manages a Project Grow garden plot, conveniently located across the street from the kitchen. Produce and herbs are harvested during the summer and fall and are incorporated in that day’s class menu. It doesn’t get any fresher than that! Efforts are also made to buy locally and seasonally from local farmers’ markets.
Response to Sprouting Chefs’ offerings has been very positive. Lilian is already looking to add a second instructor to meet the demand.