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Kids' cooking classes teach kitchen skills, help donate to others in need

The classes at Rwanda Bean in Portland taught kids how to expand their palates, learn new cooking techniques and recipes, and also had a donation component.

PORTLAND, Maine — At the height of the pandemic, Private Chef Amy Kayne from "2Gether Private Chefs" came up with an idea to keep kids entertained and busy. She started every Thursday holding live online cooking classes for parents to tune in with their kids and do something fun in the kitchen together.

Kayne titled the effort "4Kids By Kids" because another important goal was for kids to help others in need. 

"The '4 Kids' is the families that need a little extra love this fall and then the 'By Kids' is them all creating things in the kitchen and collecting all the pantry items," Kayne said.

Now, Kayne recently finished teaching a three-day class at Rwanda Bean in Portland ahead of Thanksgiving. She focused the classes on Thanksgiving dishes.

Kids were encouraged to bring non-perishable items to the classes and at the end, they assembled four full boxes of Thanksgiving-related ingredients to give to four families in need this holiday season.

The classes teach elementary-age kids important cooking skills, and Kayne said it is also a way for them to expand their palates by trying new dishes and flavors at a young age.

From what to say when using a sharp knife to opening an oven to how to properly cut with a knife, as well as recipes they've never tried before, the classes make sure kids are having fun in the process.

"I'm always talking about your taste buds, and how does that work and why do you add texture, and why would you seasoning? I want them to start thinking now so that one, you are not having kids that are constantly eating macaroni and cheese [with] hot dogs, which we all love, but [also] being able to expand their palate," Kayne said.

Kids cooking class announcement! In 1 week from Wednesday we are starting our 4Kids by kids cooking classes. With fall...

Posted by 2Gether Private Chefs on Monday, October 24, 2022

"We made a pumpkin pie and an apple pie!" Erinne Graffius, a cooking class student, said.

"We learned how to cut things safely, we learned how to start the oven, how to bake," Nolan Kayne, another cooking class student, said.

For Kayne, kids will become interested in cooking, baking, and anything in the kitchen if they have fun doing it. So, the classes allow them to add their own spark to recipes.

"We might fumble, and we might do things here and there and everywhere, but it's like the knowledge and the passion behind it which I think is so important to teaching the kids," Kayne said.

To learn more about Chef Amy Kayne's classes, click here.

Her next round of classes for kids will be held in March 2023.

At the end of the classes set to be held in March, participating kids will prepare a sit-down dinner for parents, cooking from scratch everything they've learned, and the money raised will go to "Full Plates Full Potential" to help Maine families in need of healthy food.

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