Dozens of Taranaki children are donning chefs' whites and gaining kitchen confidence at a Fitzroy business.
Last year Heidi Griffin turned her commercial-style home kitchen in Richmond St into a business called Little Chefs School of Cookery.
There she takes after school and holiday classes for children eight years and older, teaching them the rudimentary skills and techniques needed in the kitchen.
Since opening six months ago more than 50 children have been to her classes.
The classes not only taught cooking but also life skills and confidence in the kitchen to people of all ages.
Ms Griffin recently took a course for university students, teaching them 15 dishes in five hours to prepare them for flatting life, she said.
"I hope to instil an enjoyment of being in the kitchen so they will happily cook throughout their lives and not see it as a chore," Ms Griffin said.
At the end of each course Ms Griffin gave out customised cookbooks to the students with recipes from the course as well as photos of the students at work.
Children cooked sweet and savoury food and got to take home their creations at the end of class.
"We try to do sweet and savoury each time but they definitely prefer the sweet."
The next lot of classes for term one runs from 3.30pm to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday.
Each class costs $15 and is limited to 10 people.
This is now Ms Griffin's fulltime job and she was surprised at how positive the response had been to Little Chefs.
"I was expecting it to be slow because I haven't done a huge amount of advertising."
Word of mouth had been her most powerful marketing tool, she said.
In order to use her kitchen as a business, Ms Griffin followed all the necessary council requirements, she said.
"They were very helpful."
Most kids who joined the class had limited knowledge of cooking at first but caught on pretty quick, she said. "It's very hands-on here.
"They are here to learn, not just watch me do things."
She also taught important nutritional information such as five-plus a day and included recipes to encourage that.
Savanah Hislop, 11, said she joined the class after hearing about it from a friend and then seeing it in the Spotswood Primary School newsletter.
"So I decided to give it a go and I found it really cool."
Savanah used to do some baking at home but now she cooked dinner for her family every Sunday night and then some.
The cooking classes had dramatically improved her confidence in the kitchen and now she wanted to pursue a career as a chef, she said.
"Everybody gets to do something, there's nobody left out and we get to eat what we've made."
She had also learnt the importance of perseverance.
"If you try something perseverance is the best way to go.
"Keep trying and don't give up,." she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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