Cooking with your child is a great way to spend some quality time together. The hands-on exploration of cooking is not just a great sensory experience, but can also help to get junior interested in what he eats, and might just tempt him out of his hot dog and applesauce comfort zone into the wilds of more exotic flavors. Plus, it's fun. Family cooking activities abound this fall, and we've found some great parent-child cooking workshops and classes for you. Here are a few options.
Big Cheese, Little Cheese Pizza Making Workshop
Pizza a Casa
371 Grand Street
You and your over four-year old can spend an afternoon learning to make authentic pizza at Pizza a Casa. Chef-owner-pizza expert Mark Bello will take you through all the steps as you prepare thin-crusted pizza and homemade, sugar-free tomato sauce in this three-hour class. A maximum of eight parent-child teams will create four pizzas per team. The next class meets on Saturday, September 25 at noon, and costs $225 for the two of you. You won’t leave empty handed as the fee includes take-home aprons for you both, a kid-safe pizza cutter, a detailed guide on pizza making, extra dough and all the pizza that you made and didn’t manage to finish.
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
630 Bedford Hills Road
Pocantico Hills, Westchester County
The 7th Annual Harvest Fest will take place on Saturday, October 2 from 10-3 p.m. Stone Barns provides a great opportunity for city kids to get a first-hand look at a farm, and for the whole family to ponder questions on sustainable farming. The festival features workshops on food and farming that the entire family can participate in. A farmer’s market will be selling a variety of locally sourced food for lunch or snack options. The cost is $30 per adult, $20 ages 6-14 and $10 for 2-5 year olds. On Sunday, September 19 Farm to Table: Lamb, gives you and your kids the chance to do some hands-on farming, before heading into the kitchen to cook a snack using lamb and other seasonal foods. It takes place from 2-4 p.m. and costs $20 for adults and $15 for 2-14 year olds. On Sunday, October 17, Farm to Table: Herbs, will offer a similar experience, utilizing local herbs in the snack preparation. This 2-hour workshop is scheduled for 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.
Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival
Chelsea Market Event Space
75 9th Ave
This event takes place on October 7-10, and hasn’t left families out of its programming.
There are numerous Kids Get Cooking events scheduled at the Chelsea Market Event Space, including the sure-to-be-popular From Farm to Cone-Ice Cream Making with Seth McEachron of Battenkill Valley Creamery! It takes place on Saturday, October 9 from 2-3 p.m. You and the kids can learn the secrets of ice cream making from this fifth-generation dairy farmer, and sample the flavor combinations that you have created. Recommended for kids over four, it costs $25 per person.
Pasta lovers will like the Piccolini Interactive Pasta Playground Presented by Barilla, also on October 9 from 10-11 a.m. for $18 per person. Kids can learn about the tradition of pasta making as they knead, press and shape the dough to make their favorite pasta cuts. Check the Festival’s website for lots more hands-on, family-friendly cooking events all weekend.
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, New York
The Edible Garden is an exhibit that focuses on growing and preparing healthy food. Locally grown, seasonal foods are celebrated. This a great place for your kids to learn how the foods that they eat get on their plates. The Edible Garden is open until October 17, and features kid-friendly cooking demonstrations in the tented outdoor Conservatory Kitchen. Columbus Day weekend (October 9-11) is Family Harvest Weekend, and celebrity chefs Bill Telepan and Lidia Bastianich will demonstrate their delicious techniques. Music, crafts, gardening and interactive food-themed fun are guaranteed.
October 16 and 17 is the Fall Finale, where you can expect much of the same, only add the Molto big personality of Chef Mario Batali to the mix for extra zest.
These weekend events cost $20 for adults, $8 for 2-12 year olds.
The JCC in Manhattan
Amsterdam Avenue and 76 Street
Several one-time-only cooking classes for kids and their adult companion will be held here. On Friday, October 8 and again on Friday November 12 at 10 a.m. you and you under-six year old can learn to knead, braid and bake the traditional Jewish Sabbath bread in Challah Bakin. The cost is $20 for non-members. If the grandparents want to get in on the cooking action, sign up for Cooking with Grandma and Grandpa on Sunday, November 7 at 10 a.m., when cinnamon buns, baked eggs in a mashed potato basket, and hot chocolate with maple flavored whipped cream will be prepared. This class costs $25 per person. If you are interested in cooking with your child on a weekly basis, semester-long classes start in mid-September.
The 92 Y
Lexington Avenue and 92 Street
The 92 Y also has one-time-only classes, Kids in the Kitchen, and Kids in the Kitchen with Grandparents for 2 1/2-5 year olds. The classes are given on select weekend mornings throughout the fall, and cost $40 for non-members. The 92 Y will continue with its popular weekly What’s Cookin’?, a class for 2 ½ -4 year olds, in early October. For 6-9 year olds, Cook’n’Give meets monthly starting on Sunday, November 7 at 1-2:30 p.m. Kids and their parents learn to prepare meals together, which are then donated to a local homeless shelter.
Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park, New York
Does your food-loving tween or teen watch Rachael Ray, while you are old enough to remember the Galloping Gourmet? Bridge the generation gap at The Culinary Institute of America’s Parent & Teen Day, held on Saturday, October 23, from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in Hyde Park, New York. You and your 12-16 year old will spend the day together at this Rolls-Royce of cooking schools, working side by side in a professional kitchen with a small group of like-minded foodies, who come from far and wide to participate. There are a wide variety of specialty classes to choose from, with topics like Cake Decorating and The Flavors of Asia that will appeal to a variety of culinary interests. Whatever class you choose, you and your child will spend quality time together learning to prepare gourmet specialties under the watchful eye of a Professional CIA Chef Instructor. Training of this caliber doesn’t come cheaply, at $500 per adult/teen pair, but it is a truly memorable day for serious young cooking enthusiasts. These classes are very popular, so book as much in advance as possible. The fee includes lunch, CIA logo aprons, and a copy of the CIA cookbook featured in the class. When you leave the kitchen, you will want to stroll the lovely campus to enjoy the picturesque Hudson River views, with fall foliage at its peak. It is easy to get to Hyde Park riding Metro-North to Poughkeepsie and catching a taxi for the fast ride to the CIA campus.
109 West 27 Street
This venue has many cooking classes for children. Lots are drop-off classes, but there are several that include parent participation. The popular Gingerbread House class for kids ages 2-14 and their parents is offered on the weekend of December 11-12, with additional weekends being added due to high demand, so check the website for additions. For $75, the two of you will design and decorate your own gingerbread house, a nice way to get into the holiday mood. Book this one early, as it is sure to be popular. The school is happy to create private cooking classes to suit specific interests and schedules.
You might also like What's For Dinner: Cooking Classes to Help with Feeding Kids, and many of our other posts about food in NYC.