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Lil Chefs events offer a taste of the kitchen for parents and kids alike

David Neri
February 27, 2019

While many Ohio University chefs have hosted demos throughout the school year geared toward providing students with a better palette and an improved knowledge of food, Production Chef (now General Manager of Retail) Chef Monchito Trinidad has a different audience in mind. Heading up four Lil Chef Demonstrations throughout the OHIO spring calendar, including events on April 2 and April 20, Trinidad aims to impart a familiarity with the kitchen to some of the younger members of the Athens community, as well as provide parents with an activity to learn alongside their kids.

Initially developed over the previous spring and summer semesters, Trinidad saw the demos as an opportunity for the Culinary Studio to reach out to the larger Athens community. “I have a great passion for cooking education, so when I started working with the Culinary Studio last spring, I didn’t want to limit my opportunities to just college age students and above,” said Trinidad. “So when summer rolled around I thought, ‘What can we do to get kids more involved?’”

After a lot of planning, Trinidad settled on the idea of food workshops, providing kids with the chance to try their hand at a range of dishes from fruit kebabs to lasagna. The initial workshops were a big hit, selling out only a few weeks after being unveiled. Hoping to meet the high demand, this semester Lil Chefs will be offering rollover sessions for parents and kids who have expressed interest in one of the sold-out demos that will take place the week following the event.

According to Food Pro Student Coordinator Julie Coen, when deciding on the focus of each demo, each of the recipes were chosen to strike a balance between the simplicity and creativity necessary to get young children interested in cooking alongside their parents. “We browsed around for ideas for a few months,” said Coen. “We wanted to come up with something that, while simple enough to finish in an hour, had enough variation to give the kids choices and keep them interested.”

According to Trinidad, the fostering of that kind of interest in the kids, as well as their parents, is the true goal of demos like Lil Chefs. “It’s not really about teaching the parents and their kids one recipe,” said Trinidad. “For me, imparting the technique is more important. If we can teach the parents even a single technique to take away from the workshop it will encourage them to apply it to any number of their own dishes, an activity they can do alongside their kids.”

Information on the Lil Chef events taking place during the current semester can be found alongside other Culinary Studio demo events. Tickets are available for purchase via CASHNet, and, if interested in a booked Lil Chef event, prospective participants are asked to contact the Culinary Studio at culinarystudioevents@ohio.edu for placement in a rollover demo.