Seven culinary summer camps for kids

By Martha Michael

School is out. Kids are home for the summer. And parents are scrambling to find ways to keep them busy. Metro Atlanta has a host of activities that can entertain kids no matter their interests, including various hands-on camps and classes that get kids engaged in the kitchen.

Tired of hearing, “Mom, I’m bored?” Sign him up. By the end of the summer, you just might have a mini-chef on your hands. Here are a few to check out:

Kroger Chef Junior – Each Saturday morning, Kroger grocery stores across the metro area offer 20-minute cooking classes for kids. Participants receive a recipe card for each dish, so they can recreate it at home. They also take home a Kroger Chef Junior chef’s hat, apron, cooking utensil, patch and recipe box. Participating Kroger locations and class dates can be found here.

Tailor-made for rising K – 9th graders, the MJCCA offers the community a menu of exciting cooking camps during National Culinary Arts Month in July./Photo courtesy of MJCCA

Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta – MJCCA still has spots remaining for cooking camps in July at its East Cobb, Dunwoody and intown locations. Themes for the four- and five-day camps include an edible arts camp called “Creative Chefs,” “Baking Bonanza” and “Restaurant Wars,” in which campers design their own restaurant from the ground up and present their plans to a panel of experts and camp directors. Details and registration can be found here.

The Mercantile – Week 3 of the Gourmet Kids Summer Cooking Camp will take place June 26-30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is hosted by the Word of Mouth Cooking Club, a mobile cooking school founded by chef and mother Silvia Medrano-Edelstein. The club aims to teach kids to prepare delicious recipes while learning skills such as kitchen organization, plating techniques and pairing nonalcoholic beverages with meals. Details and registration can be found here.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier Day Camp – At Peterbrooke Chocolatier in Norcross, kids (and adults, too) can spend a day learning how to make chocolate. They will also work on dipping and coloring their own treats to take home in a gift basket they create. Sessions are held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Aug. 10 (excluding June 27-29). A day camp is available for children with nut allergies on July 12. Cost is $50 per participant. Registration can be found here.

Publix – At its Alpharetta Commons location, Publix offers a variety of camps and classes for kids aged eight to 12. Beyond its Junior Chefs Camp, where kids learn the fundamentals of cooking, Publix also hosts “Kappa Iota Delta Sigma (K.I.D.S.) Opa!” and “Kids’ Cocina,” to teach kids how to cook Greek and Mexican cuisine, respectively. Details and dates can be found here.

Whole Foods Market – At its Avalon location in Alpharetta, Whole Foods offers a selection of cooking classes for kids of all ages, as well as family classes. Classes include “Strawberry Fields,” during which kids create dishes with strawberries as the main ingredient, “Garden Cooking,” that takes kids shopping in the produce department to select fresh ingredients for their meals, and “Family Summer Bakeshop.” Class descriptions and registration can be found here.

Young Chef’s Academy – Located in Marietta, Sandy Springs and midtown Atlanta, YCA offers a variety of daily classes and weekly camps. Camp-Can-I-Cook themes include “Cupcake Insanity,” “Dining through the Decades,” and YCA’s own version of the popular Food Network television cooking competition “Chopped.” Participants are divided by age group: KinderCooks (ages 3-6), JuniorChefs (ages 7-10), SeniorChefs (ages 10-18). The June class theme is “Summer Road Trip: Summertime Hot Spots” and the July class theme is “At home with YCA: From Farm to Table”. Dates and prices for camps and classes can be found on the YCA website.

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