Part of the joy of teaching my nephews Oliver and Jake to cook is introducing them to new ingredients and new flavours. They both have open minds and are keen to learn. My ultimate goal is not to create two masterchefs, but to encourage their independence and boost their self-esteem. It also presents the opportunity to talk about family history, culture, nutrition and food politics.
We have already spent quite a bit of time mastering basic knife skills, discussing equipment use and working with heat. Other basics we have covered are food hygiene — washing hands, and co-ordination — opening containers and packets, pouring without spilling and carrying food around the kitchen, reading and following recipes, the importance of following instructions and timing and patience.
The most challenging part for me, is not to say “hop out of the way, I’ll do that”. However, I’m very cautious around pots of boiling water. Even older children should have some supervision to avoid accidents in the kitchen.
Above all, I keep the mood in the kitchen upbeat and allow them to be creative.