Ideas and Inspiration

Big fun for little chefs!

Were you and your family among the millions of Aussies gripped by Masterchef (and then Junior Masterchef)? For many of us, these shows have lead to renewed inspiration in the kitchen.

  • And if your kids are keen, cooking together can be rewarding and fun (even though there’s usually more mess than if you were baking alone!). There’s so much children can learn when making meals from scratch – from food preparation techniques, to measuring quantities, trying new ingredients, and finding out about nutrition and flavours. They’ll also gain a sense of satisfaction and pride in eating something they’ve created themselves.
  • So if your older primary child or teen loves helping out in the kitchen, perhaps they would like a ‘little chefs’ or ‘junior cooks’ party this year? Here’s how to manage this theme so the party doesn’t descend into a chaotic mess of icing and flour!
  • Keep the numbers realistic

    Half a dozen guests is plenty for a cooking party. This way, you can keep in control of the mess factor and adequately supervise each kid as they complete their tasks. Each child will require their own area of bench space or spot at a long, covered kitchen table. They will also need their own set of utensils (otherwise they may lose interest when they don’t get enough turns at mixing!).
  • Prepare for the party thoroughly

    You can’t host a little chefs party on a whim; it requires careful planning. Select the recipes well in advance, and trial them first to ensure they are both successful and easy enough for the children to manage. Also make sure you allocate enough time to prepare, cook and eat the recipes before the party finishes.
  • Choose easy recipes

    Keep the food simple – don’t be too ambitious with what the children are capable of achieving in a few hours. It’s meant to be fun (more than challenging)! Also avoid too much stove-top cooking for safety reasons – no-bake recipes are perfect. Here are some ideas – adapt them as you see fit to suit the ability and age of the group.
  • Easy pikelets
  • Rocky road
  • Easy no bake caramel slice
  • No bake Weet Bix slice
  • Brief the parents before the day

    Most parents will be pleased you’re hosting a party that’s a bit different, but do let them know on the invitation that their child will be cooking, in case they have any safety concerns. It’s also vital to speak to each parent to check if their child has any allergies – obviously don’t use any ingredients that could be in any way problematic.
  • Time the party right

    Three or four hours is a good amount of time to host for a little chefs party. For example, 10am to 2pm will allow you to prepare and cook the recipes, with time left to enjoy the food for lunch. If the children are old enough to stay for dinner, the party could go from 4pm to 8pm, with the main recipe being a savoury dish (e.g. individual pizzas).
  • Enjoy the culinary creations!

    This is the really fun part – after all the cooking, the kids will love devouring the food they have prepared during the party. If there is a lot of food leftover, have some little noodle boxes on hand so that each child can take an extra portion home.
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