While shopping at the mall for my daughter's birthday gift, I noticed a large sign near the doors to Williams-Sonoma. They were advertising their upcoming cooking classes. My eye was immediately drawn to the listing for FREE Junior Chef classes for kids ages 5 to 13!
Class size is limited (in this case to 15), but thankfully I was able to secure the final spots for the Thanksgiving Helper: Soups and Mini Desserts session that was scheduled to take place on Halloween morning. In fact, there was room for only one of my children, but the store employee told me they could probably squeeze my other daughter in because they didn't want to have to turn away one in the pair. This was confirmed when I called the store to confirm our spots a couple days prior to the event. They told me someone had canceled, so both of my daughters had a place at the table. However, this employee also told me they would have accommodated the second child even if there had not been a cancellation. While I would not have expected it, I did appreciate their willingness to accommodate our family.
When I called the store to confirm, I asked if our girls should bring anything or wear anything special. I was told that a mixer would be used, so the kids could possibly get splashed--just wear something that can be thrown in the laundry. This is important. Stay with me...
We attended the class at the Williams-Sonoma at the Kenwood Towne Center is Cincinnati. We arrived about five minutes early. The 45-minute events at this store begin at 9:30am, but it should be noted that other stores don't start until 10am. The employees could be seen preparing for the class, but they did not open the doors until 9:30am.
The class participants were asked to wash their hands before finding a place to stand at a table that was set up behind the registers. There were name tags and a couple of pieces of Halloween candy on each plate. I wasn't sure if I was to stay, browse around, or head out of the store. I followed the lead of the other parents, and we all ended up hanging out behind the kids' table.
The instructor welcomed us and because it was Halloween, she reviewed trick-or-treat safety rules with the kids. She explained that she had made the butternut squash soup the previous evening because there was a lot of chopping and not enough time to do it during the class. The kids would be making mini pumpkin pies during their time together.
When the class began, I immediately recognized that my girls were going to be disappointed with this "class." They frequently help in the kitchen with meal preparation, and they are quite comfortable in the kitchen for kids who are only 9 and 10 years old. To be honest, this "class" was actually a glorified commercial. And I mean that with all due respect. I realize that other children don't have (or want) the opportunity to help in the kitchen at home, and this is probably perfect for them. I kept reminding myself that we were attending a free class in a store. Of course, Williams-Sonoma wanted us to buy the products being used in the demonstration. (And they did offer us a 10% discount). However, after reading the description of the class and having the conversation with the store employee about the mixer, I had great expectations for the experience. It just so happened that the reality was quite different. My older daughter summed it up by saying, "That was a lot of listening and waiting." She was exactly right. But let me give you a sneak peek in case you are interested in experiencing the program for yourself.
Each child had a chance to cut a circle of pie crust out of refrigerated pie crust with a circle cutter. They used a wooden juicer to tuck the piece of dough into a mini muffin tin. The instructor did a great job making sure each child got to do a job--cracking eggs, pouring pumpkin pie starter into a bowl, and stirring ingredients together.
While the pies were baking, the kids and parents had a chance to taste a sample of butternut squash soup. The instructor also explained and demonstrated how to make real whipped cream that they'd use to top their mini pies. As they waited for the pies to finish in the oven, the instructor asked each child what they were going to be for Halloween, and each child shared his or her favorite candy. Kids devoured the sweet treat, and parents were eager to enjoy a sample as well.
Prior to our arrival, I was contemplating the idea of registering my girls for another class. I have since reconsidered. That being said, there were a couple of kids who had attended classes in the past. This may be a good opportunity for others which is why I chose to write this post. By attending a Junior Chef class at Williams-Sonoma, Girl Scouts could potentially satisfy a step or two for the Juniors Simple Meals badge or the Brownies Snacks badge.
Our next Girl Scout event is coming up in mid-November. I invite you to check back with us soon!