Williams-Sonoma offers FREE weekly Junior Chef Classes. My 3 younger kids recently participated in a few of the classes at the Beachwood location in La Place/Beachwood Place. Make sure you call you local store to register before you go and be sure to verify the time. At the Beachwood location, the website advertises the start time as 10 am, however the class actually starts at 9:30 am.I am not sure if this is true for other locations as well, but it is definitely best to find out. It would be so disappointing to walk into the class with only minutes remaining (the classes typically last approximately 30-45 minutes).
The majority of classes (4 of 5) we have participated in were taught by Barbara Snow. I cannot say enough great things about this chef. She has a true passion for cooking and a wonderful way of engaging the children. All of my youngest (ages 5 -8 years) can now successfully flip a crepe using the technique she taught them, which is more than I can say for myself. She has taught the children how properly crack an egg (you don’t use the side of the bowl), how to identify a fresh egg, and many other tricks and techniques.
The classes take place around the demonstration table. Today’s recipe was slightly complex, but wonderfully smelling Cinnamon Waffles with Caramelized Apples. On days with more complex recipes, Chef Snow has many of the ingredients pre-measured and the kids get to focus on other cooking techniques such a sifting, whipping cream, separating eggs, as well as the typical mixing and pouring. Of course, at the end there is sampling! Typically the kids sample a switch out that has been pre-made by Chef Snow (unless it is an individually made item such as veggie pizza).
I truly think these free junior chef classes are fabulous! My kids and I all learn from every class. However, the classes do not often match the full description on the Williams-Sonoma website. This definitely does not mean they aren’t great, but just be prepared. For example the Thanksgiving sides class was advertised to teach several sides however only mashed potatoes were taught. The same was true with the waffle class; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert waffles were advertised but one type of waffle was made. Although different sides and waffles were discussed, it is best not to go into the class with the expectation that all of these will be made.
A great parental perk, is that you get a 10% discount (some exclusions apply) on purchases after the class. They definitely don’t push you to buy anything, but they mention it just in case you are interested. I used the discount to purchase a few of these great items from their junior chef line during the holidays.
I also learned that almost every recipe that Williams-Sonoma has published can be found for free on their website. It is a little difficult to find, but here is the direct link: Williams-Sonoma Recipe Search.
My kids cannot wait to attend the next Junior Chef Class at Williams-Sonoma. If you go, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.