Summer day campers from Prospect and Williamsbridge were in for a treat when Tamara Shenkle, Owner and Executive Chef of Amoraco Catering, visited them for a healthy, hands-on cooking demonstration.
Shenkle had participated in this spring’s KidCare NYC Jop Hop, an event where young participants spoke to professionals from different industries speed-dating style to learn more about their fields, and many children took interest in her career. Staff members were happy to invite her back on-site to share her expertise with the campers.
The hour-long class’ menu was set for perfect scrambled egg burritos and gluten free waffles with strawberries, powdered sugar, and maple syrup. With excitement, all of the little chefs volunteered to help throughout the cooking process.
They cracked eggs, mixed batter, scrambled patiently, sprayed the waffle irons, wrapped burritos tightly, and more. Shenkle made sure to explain every step in the recipe before the class moved forward.
Shenkle cited the empowering nature that cooking can provide for children.
“It encourages self-sufficiency,” Shenkle said. “[Cooking is] a fun way to learn about structure, discover likes and dislikes, and a way to give back to caregivers.”
Shenkle made sure that the little chefs practiced giving back when cooking. She explained that the chef never eats first.
So, after each child finished wrapping a burrito or removed a waffle from the iron, Shenkle asked who he or she would like to share their food with.
Each child picked a friend, Shenkle split the finished product into halves, and both enjoyed their meal. Once everyone had eaten, Shenkle welcomed seconds and thirds.
At the end of the cooking demonstration, Shenkle gave the little chefs a big surprise—she donated four waffle irons to the Prospect and Williamsbridge after school programs. This way, the children can take their newfound knowledge and cook in the future.
“In a busy world with many distractions, [gathering for a meal] is the only time of day where we truly connect,” Shenkle said.
If full stomachs and smiles weren’t enough of an indicator that the children enjoyed themselves during the cooking class, one child asking Shenkle to autograph his napkin and chef hat was icing on the cake.
“No matter what your age, to cook a meal for someone is a lovely way to show them that you care.”