Hi, my name is Martin Mijares, and I am Sociologist with Filipino Heritage. Being raised in the Bay Area enables me to the meshing of all the diverse cultures that reside here. I come from an extended family, many younger and still in elementary school, which grants me a special perspective, seeing things from their point of view. My Sociological background also plays a role in the understanding of how cultures operate. This trifold perspective helps me understand each layer that unfolds. When I discovered Chef Koochooloo, I found myself in a sociological heaven for kids, and here is why:
Chef Koochooloo, a company started in Mountain View, CA by Layla Sabourian, is an educational platform that focuses on the fun cooking recipes that adults and children can enjoy while educating children via math, food science, culture and emphasizing positive social change in the world.
I got so excited to learn about them that I volunteered to sit in during a couple of after school sessions, and what a delicious treat that was! The curriculum really brought to light how interactive and enjoyable cooking with kids is for children.
Quick breakdown of the session:
Lina, a Russian seasoned elementary school teacher taught the session at Mistral Bilingual Immersion School in Mountain View, using the free Chef Koochooloo iPad application, (Check it out: https://appsto.re/us/aQkz8.i)
She explored Nigeria with the children, from the various plants that the country grows, fun facts about the country, its location, leading up to the dish they will be preparing that day. The classroom setting provides a familiar setting for the kids, which keeps them glued to Lina as well as vocal in answering some of the trivia questions she asked them.
The tables quickly turned into a kitchen lab with tools the children needed to make the recipe for that day, which included cutting boards and utensils. The children were enthusiastic about writing their names with invisible ink (citrus juice) on paper, they literally made a splash of some of the juice! They immediately put their artwork away as soon as Lina proposed that the main dish start.
The last portion of the session consisted of the main dish, a fruit salad that included apples, papaya, and bananas. Each child was designated a particular fruit to cut to include into the bowl. At this point the kids were highly motivated and involved to show off their creations to each other and to contribute to the fruit salad. The kids were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor by eating the fruit salad they created.
A wrap up of the topic that, reinforced geography, culture, and food, and ensuring the kids learned took something away from the session was covered by Lina before they departed.
From the sociological perspective, I want to highly encourage cooking with kids as a way to teach them about the world they live in and society.
It is important to teach kids about sociology because it makes them more aware of issues that affect them as well as those globally. Chef Koochooloo facilitates this greater awareness through its methods of in class sessions and app-based learning.
Being able to witness how easy it is to incorporate not so simple ideas, words, and cultural aspects into a lesson by way of food is something that shown brightly from the kids. The kids were highly attentive because of structure of the program and the classroom setting. They were engaged in learning about the country they were visiting and learning about. Throughout the actual cooking portion of the session, the kids used social skills to coordinate with one another, which included concepts of teamwork, sharing, and communication in order to accomplish the recipe. Not only does the program teach the kids fundamentals but they learn in a setting familiar to them and have fun while doing it as well!
The kids enjoyed making the fruit salad recipe so much that the next time my sister asked me to babysit, I jumped on the opportunity and used the Chef Koochooloo app to teach them about the Philippines. The kids had a blast while playing with the interactive 3D globe, and found the Philippines, they then discovered fun facts through the app and selected a delicious recipe that is one of my all time favorites: Avocado + Condensed Milk (Look for it under the Chef Koochooloo app)
Thanksgiving is coming up, and I wanted to highly encourage you to try one of Chef Koochooloo’s favorite thanksgiving treats, which you can find under Turkey, the recipe is called: Candied-pumpkin-dessert
Also, feel free to reach out to the Chef Koochooloo team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to bring these exciting cooking sessions to your school.