French cooking with kids

Canada-based teacher and author Mardi Michels reveals her passion for teaching kids to cook and the inspiration for her new cookbook

Twice a week during school terms, our school science lab takes on a bit of a different look. If you look in, you’ll see about a dozen boys slicing, dicing, mixing, kneading, sprinkling and tasting, the evidence of their “experiments” all over the lab benches.

Yet, unlikely as the setting may be, what is taking place in the lab is a cooking class that’s now been running since 2010.

You know what? Kids can cook. You just have to let them! says Mardi Michels

In 2005 I started teaching French at an all-boys school, where one of my responsibilities was – and still is – to run an after-school club. Initially I offered technology-based clubs, taking advantage of the resources we had available and, of course, catering to the boys’ interests.

But in the autumn of 2009, I heard Jamie Oliver speak in Toronto about the Food Revolution and his “Pass It On” campaign, which focused on getting people back into the kitchen and cooking. Throughout his talk, all I could think about was that I, an educator, had a duty to contribute to this campaign in some way.

I knew I wanted to pass on my knowledge and love of cooking, and with the opportunity for a new after-school club before me, it seemed like the time was right to try something new!

I figured that it would not only teach my students valuable life skills, but also be a great way for me to get to know them (and them, me) outside the classroom, doing something I really loved. French as a Second Language is not always everyone’s favourite subject, and I was excited by this chance to show ...

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