Burlington County’s youngest cooks have a new place to develop their culinary skills.
The Burlington County Agricultural Center kicked off its new Kids in the Kitchen program with a group of 10 budding chefs who learned the art of making pizza.
The class was held in the Farmhouse Kitchen and was led by Kathryn Simon, the agricultural center’s kitchen manager/program coordinator, and Amanda Rodriguez, owner and operator of the Rod Homestead in Haddon Township. It was the first of a series of special culinary workshops the agricultural center has planned for children between the ages of 7 and 13.
During the class, the kids got the chance to smash garlic for sauce, knead and stretch dough, and chop tomatoes, vegetables and fresh mozzarella for toppings. The class also covered kitchen and food safety lessons, and basic nutrition. At the conclusion, students were able to enjoy their own creations both at the farmhouse and at-home.
Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Tom Pullion attended the pizza-making class and raved about the instruction the participants received.
“Our Burlington County Parks System has activities, events and programs for all ages and interests and our agricultural center, and its farmhouse kitchen is a fantastic place to learn about farming and how to use locally grown products to make into delicious meals and snacks,” Pullion said. “The addition of the new Kids in the Kitchen series gives our youngest budding chefs a taste of cooking in a commercial kitchen with instructions from cooking pros. As a foodie and amateur chef, I was thrilled to watch these kids interact and learn the ins and outs of the kitchen.”
Rodriguez, who is an instructor at the agricultural center’s numerous cooking workshops and culinary classes, said teaching children the art of cooking is one of her favorite activities.
“I love being in the kitchen with kids. It’s magic,” she said. “The science of the kitchen is super cool.”
Other upcoming Kids in the Kitchen classes include St. Patrick’s Cupcake Making on March 12 and Earth Day Celebration Cookies on April 22.
Registration is required for all classes and there’s a $40 fee for each participant. Classes are drop-off but supervising adults are welcome to attend and watch.
To register visit the Burlington County Parks webpage at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/235/Parks
In addition to cooking classes, the agricultural center plans to hold a Kids in the Garden series of classes, along with adult gardening workshops and seminars devoted to raising backyard chickens.
The center also hosts the county’s weekly farmers markets each Saturday in the spring, summer and fall.
“The agricultural center is a one-of-a-kind destination devoted to our county’s farming heritage and to helping to keep agriculture alive and prosperous for current and future generations of farmers,” said Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “It’s a place for residents to come all year for programs on cooking and gardening, agriculture, sustainability and stewardship. If you’ve never been, make some time to plan a visit or to take a class soon.”