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Cherry Yeung helps James Quinn, 6, make a strawberry pie at a kids culinary camp in Toronto on July 18, 2013. (HO/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Cherry Yeung helps James Quinn, 6, make a strawberry pie at a kids culinary camp in Toronto on July 18, 2013. (HO/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Culinary camp: Having fun with pies and cakes Add to ...

Having one’s fingers in every pie has a whole new meaning when young children are getting creative in the kitchen.

Culinary camps, offered at venues across the country, are just the latest way kids can learn a life skill while having fun.

Not only do they glean valuable knowledge about food preparation, but they also gain confidence in handling knives and other kitchen tools.

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Lisa Sanguedolce owns Le Dolci in Toronto, which aims to provide foodie education along with its sweet treats.

“We think a lot of kids love baking and love watchingYouTube videos on how to bake, so this has been a great experience for them to actually come and do things from start to finish,” explained Sanguedolce in the midst of a recent class focusing on summer strawberry pies.

“So they get to make their dough, create their fillings, create their pie and then take it home and eat it, so it’s been a great experience for kids who’ve always wanted to bake,” she said.

The five participants, ranging in age from five to nine, each concocted a pie.

Once the kitchen portion of the class wrapped up, the kids spent the rest of the day doing crafts such as T-shirt decorating or playing games, singing or dancing.

Monet Parker, 9, said cooking “is just fun to do and then you can eat it after, so it’s fun.”

Matthew Quinn, also 9, said creating the lattice top for the pie was challenging “because you have to make the strings straight. Otherwise, you’re going to mess it up.”

Any pastry scraps were turned into cinnamon rolls. “I’m going to cook them and I’m going to eat them,” he added with anticipation.

Neither child is a novice in the kitchen; they’ve both made cakes and cupcakes at home and Monet had made a pie.

The children are given plenty of individual attention. Along with Sanguedolce, teacher Cherry Yeung provides guidance, such as showing students how to brush the top of the pie with an egg wash “as if you’re washing a painting” so that the pastry will brown nicely.

Sanguedolce said four and older is the best age for children to attend cooking classes.

“We have had children under the age of two come, but that’s been quite a rarity. I think four years old is when they can kind of sit and have lots of fun on their own.”

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