Thanks to shows like Master Chef Junior, my kids now know the difference between sauté and flambé — and they want to do both in our kitchen at home. The problem is, they either get bored trying to choose a recipe from my text-heavy cookbooks, or they manage to choose recipes beyond their skill level. Or maybe even mine. But lately we’ve been having a lot of fun working our way through the recipes at ChopChop Cooking Club, a set of free online cooking lessons for kids. It’s helping my kids hone their skills, so that one day we can sit around and watch them on Master Chef. That’s their plan, at least.
This site, a spin-off of the great ChopChop magazine, has age-appropriate recipes that will help your kids master their cooking skills, and they progress in difficulty as your child gets more experienced in the kitchen. So they learn as they go, kind of like culinary school for kids.
The first recipe we tried was a berry smoothie that my picky daughter sucked down in just a few minutes, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that she made it herself. We snapped a picture of her making the smoothie and submitted it via the app, which you get access to once you join, and they posted the Blender Boss badge to her profile. That made her happy because badges rock. Next up, we’re thinking Scrambled Eggs—because that’s how you advance to an omelet.
If you start cooking and you’re not sure what the directions mean — like, what’s the difference between whisking and stirring? — you can click on the Kitchen Skills tab to get helpful tutorials. They cover everything from kitchen terminology to safety tips, and even ways to be creative with your seasoning. I’ve been impressed with how thorough it is.
There’s also a Family Activity tab for after you finish each recipe. Sometimes it gives discussion prompts that will inspire your future food critics, other times there are fun activities. My kids are really loving the math and science challenges that they’re finding, like the challenge to squeeze an egg as hard as they can. They find out that the curve of the shell is like an architectural arch; it won’t break. Very cool.
Even more cool? We end up with good, fresh food on the table that I didn’t have to cook.
If your kids are begging to help you in the kitchen, ChopChop Cooking Club is a good way to train them so they can actually, you know, be helpful.