Rules may sound like no fun, but in reality, they actually help our kids to be more disciplined in whatever they do, helping them achieve success.
Similarly, every aspiring chef also needs to follow some basic rules.
When I was little, I’d just go ahead and do whatever I liked when I was cooking, and let me tell you, I got into quite a bit of trouble!
Children are very impressionable, so teaching them rules will make them more responsible in the kitchen and ensure that everything they do, they do safely.
So, let’s take a look at the golden eight rules of cooking every young chef should learn :)
1) Mise en place
Mise en place is a French culinary term for “putting everything in its place”.
It’s important to teach your kids to place each ingredient in separate bowls after measuring them and place them next to the mixer. Before using any ingredients, make sure to cross-check each of them with the recipe.
This sounds like a very simple rule, right? The thing is, a lot of us tend to skip this step entirely and it’s very easy to forget a certain ingredient and have your recipe come out completely wrong.
It’s normal for kids to get excited and put ingredients in without checking them, so reminding your kids to keep track of all their ingredients for a recipe is a good idea, or maybe have them make a checklist that they can use.
2) Be safe
For me, safety should be the priority for whatever you do—this includes cooking too.
If your kids don’t have any experience in using knives, mixers, and ovens, you must teach them how to use these safely and carefully first.
Learning how to safely use appliances and kitchen utensils will take some time and that is completely fine—let your kids take their time and tell them that it’s okay to ask for help.
3) Stay focused
Distractions can be very dangerous. I remember when I was ten years old, I got distracted while melting some wax on the stove and nearly set the kitchen on fire!
Cooking requires a lot of focus, so it’s important to make sure that your kids don’t get distracted in any way while they are cooking.
Make sure mobiles or any other distractions are out of the kitchen.
4) Always use a timer
Using a timer is a good habit, especially when you’re baking—it will certainly help keep time and make sure your food doesn’t burn!
If you don’t have a timer at home, you could use the timer on your mobile. Make sure you keep your ears open for the alarm!
5) Hands clean/hair back
Preparing food with unclean hands is a big NO!
Make sure your kids always wash their hands thoroughly and if they have long hair, have them tie it back. Make this rule the first one they need to follow before they start cooking.
6) Food safety
Food should always be prepared hygienically. Using unclean utensils or cooking in an unclean environment can bring dirt and pet hair into your dishes!
Ensure your kids wash their kitchen utensils before using them and tell them to never use any ingredients or food that falls on the floor—those go straight to the trash.
If your kids crack eggs, ask them to clean the table when they’re done and tell them to wash their hands; raw eggs carry salmonella, which can make you very sick!
7) Clean up
Ah, the dreaded clean up!
Now I know this can be a boring task for kids and it’s completely understandable. However, every good chef must clean up after themselves, and it’s a reflection of their professionalism.
Have your kids wash all their dishes with soap and water and set them to dry. After that, put everything back in their place and you’re done!
8) Learn from it
Sometimes your child’s first attempt at cooking may not turn out the way they want it. Every good chef makes mistakes and it’s nothing to be ashamed of and you should always let your child know this.
Every mistake is a step towards success, what’s important is that we learn from them.
After every cooking adventure, sit down with your kids and talk to them about what they’ve learned, how they followed the rules of cooking, and where they need help.
Work with your kids and help them improve where they feel they need help and encourage them to keep trying and try out new recipes :)
The 8 golden rules of cooking for a more enjoyable time in the kitchen!
Cooking is fun, but there are rules we all need to follow in the kitchen so we can have safe cooking adventures every day.
When your kids practice these rules every day, they’ll become more independent in the kitchen and you’ll know that your kids are slowly growing into master chefs!
Stay safe, follow the kitchen rules and have fun!
Before founding Bake Austin, Pascal Simon earned her degree as a Pastry Chef from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. A mother of two, Pascal is passionate about cultivating the next generation of bakers and welcomes children from all schooling backgrounds, whether public, private or homeschooled.