Thursday marked the eighth year that Chef Robert Creel has come to Surry County to volunteer his time to teach youngsters about preparing healthy meals and food safety. Creel is a chef with the Triad chapter of the American Culinary Federation.
Carmen Long, N.C. Cooperative Extension agent for Family and Consumer Services, said nine kids attended the cooking demonstration and plenty of volunteers turned out to help as well for this and many other 4-H programs held this year. She said not only did the kids learn how to prepare healthy food and snacks for back to school, but they got hands-on experience that gets them interested in cooking.
“This can be a potential career for them. People are always going to need to eat. This is not something that can be exported,” said Long.
Long said the kids learned how to make lasagna a different way in which they didn’t have to cook the noodles.
“Chef Rob is so wonderful in talking to them about ways to be creative. He said at his restaurant, they do seafood and different types of lasagnas. It’s been fun for the kids to be creative and make things that they may not have tried before. Several kids had not even tried omelets before and in our busy world today, we might not take a lot of time to cook for breakfast. And they learned that you can have breakfast for dinner,” said Long.
Chef and Child is a national program, Long said. She said the Triad chapter of the American Culinary Federation does a great in making sure that children in the community have the opportunity to learn. Long and Creel also work together for a program every year with the Eckerd Youth Camp where they teach outdoor cookery. She said there is no cost to any of the kids who participate in the program.
Long hopes the kids take what they learn at the program back home to their families and continue to cook at home.
Long’s son, Carson said he enjoyed learning how to make an omelet the best.
“I learned how to crack eggs a different way. I learned how to flip it in the skillet. You can practice flipping by using dry rice in the pan,” said Carson Long, who said he also enjoyed making muffins with ice cream — strawberry was his favorite.
Haley Stanley agreed with Carson in that making omelets was her favorite part of the cooking demonstration. Her friend Katelyn Southard liked the blueberry ice cream muffins the best.
Merritt Artim learned how to tell when food goes bad. She said she would definitely cook the things she learned in the class at home.
“The omelets were really good. I also made strawberry muffins and put blackberries and blueberries on top,” said Artim.
Creel said he enjoys volunteering his time to teach kids how to cook.
“This is really rewarding,” he said.
Contact Mondee Tilley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.