My buddy had forward me this Junior master chef contest from Buona Vista CC in November. After showing the kids, all three eagerly raised their hands indicated they wished to enter it!
It was a family affair as each child had to be accompanied by a parent for safety reason, so we got our helper to assist 1 kid too.
The black box was revealed: A 100g of chicken thigh meat in 100g of ginger and 8 shitake mushrooms.
This mum you may call me kiasu for this time but I call it being prepared and equipping my kids with real life skills. My chef sister had made arrangements to spend time cooking together J2’s favourite dish as his birthday gift. She had been doing this for every kid for a few years.
I took the opportunity to get her to teach my kids some manageable recipes too. Blessed me! It was a a great feat as she taught 3 kids’ their new recipes from scratch while making the pasta from scratch with J2! Big shoutout THANKS Sis you’re the chef!
The challenge was for parent and child to bond through cooking and a dish to be whipped up in 45mins.
The instructions was for the kid to do the main cooking. That was what drove me to get kids to practice at least 2x before the contest. I wanted them to be confident in knowing what to do and not rely on adults to direct them.
Here’s what we did.
1) Learnt the whole process of the new recipe from auntie once.
2) Recorded and categorized the recipes into
i. Ingredients to get
ii. Utensils/equipment for use
This helped the kids to visualise and know what to get on that day and what to do.
3) Practised on their own with limited help from accompanying adult within 45mins.
4) I did a mock set up for them to get their ingredients.
Cooking Process : J1
Bolognese Pasta from scratch
Cooking with their Xiao Yi
Set up of Ingredients
It took 3days to have a trial run with each kid. One kid prepared their individual dish for dinner accompanied by the respective adults so that we could experience working as a team in a crunch time setting.
J1: Lemon ginger chicken
J2: Soy sauced mushroom chicken
J3: Vegetable chicken soup
J3 and my helper worked together and we changed her recipe on the left to something much more flavourful like the centre photo.
J1 paired with papa. I was delighted that Papa decided to return early and helped J1. This was one rare occasion to see papa in the kitchen! Thereafter the pair discussed what each would take on.
I paired with J2 and he panicked when he had trouble chopping the onions within 10mins. It tested both my patience and he broke down as anxiety weighed on him with the ticking of the timer. I gave him some time to cool down and worked through with him the next step while I took over the onions. We managed to complete our dish in 45mins. J2 realised how panic had crippled him from focusing on the task and we discussed how he could overcome this. He could practice chopping onions on his own to speed up his cooking process. The next day, upon returning from school, he promptly practiced onion chopping on his own. I was heartened by his earnest efforts.
I was glad that this happened during our trial and not on the actual day! After these trials, the children were able to perform up to task on that day with the help of adults. It was worth the effort as we all experienced how the children grew in confidence and dexterity after each practice. This is despite having to eat the same dishes and chicken in ginger and mushrooms for 3 weeks!
For the contest, the kids typed out their recipes and I printed out for their clear reference. It boosted their confidence and clarity on what they needed to do. As my laptop was corrupted, I lost their documents but still have their physical copies. So here’s a photo of their recipes.
J2 : Soy Sauce Shitake Ginger Chicken with rice
Adapted from https://youtu.be/Xv3vdqG9oG8
J1 : Lemon Ginger Chicken with potatoes
Adapted from https://youtu.be/184KN3j-QjU
J3: Vegetable Chicken macaroni Soup
We managed to complete our dishes on time and were rewarded with a set of chopping board and knife for every participating pair.
While munching our own dishes, we discovered an undercooked chicken! It really wasn’t easy cooking under pressure! We all gained much experience from our trials at home and for real. Kids now appreciated how much effort it was to cook a decent dish! They were pleased that we did it as a family and exclaimed they’d do great if given more time for slow and thorough preparation. I’ll be getting them to do their dishes as future hosts.
It was truly a memorable event for the Yeows!
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