We couldn't agree more with Jim Sollisch in The New York Times: when kids learn how to cook, healthy meals will be the result! Click here to read the article.
This week a few of The Cooking Room founding members will be talking about the kitchen classroom and our new curriculum with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Listen in - it's free! To register, click here.
Beatrice, 5, cutting vegetables for ragu di carne with the Polliwog knife.
We've taught our kids how to slice safely (fingers tucked under - imagine a bear claw!), but have still been working mostly with plastic cutlery, or letting adults do the real chopping. Then last week, Rachael Ray's Yum-o foundation donated 32 kid-friendly Polliwog knife sets ($640 value)! This means more (and safer) hands-on cutting for all the students. Needless to say, we are super happy with this generous donation. Big thanks!
Amy Pearl made a great video about The Cooking Room for The New York Times education blog SchoolBook. In the video, called "Learning to Taste", chef and P.S. 3 parent Zak Pelaccio takes a classroom full of kindergarten students through the "Sour" lesson of our curriculum. Check it out, below, to get a taste of a typical lesson and to see the priceless reactions of kindergarteners tasting limes.
The chef Zakary Pelaccio teaches future foodies how to taste. His students are armed with cutting boards and knives."Curl your fingers under like a claw," the chef instructs. "Then you're going to cut slowly, sawing back and forth." Fingers curl into claws and little hands brandish tiny plastic knives. After all, these cooking students are still in kindergarten. Read more.
The bar at Fatty 'Cue just before the boozing - we mean, Cocktail Party Fundraiser - began.
In the spirit of this Thanksgiving week, we want to offer up a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported The Cooking Room in our very first fundraising event! Last week’s cocktail party and silent auction was held at Fatty ‘Cue, just down the street from P.S. 3 where our pilot curriculum is well underway. It is wonderful to have the support of so many parents and local business – we could not keep cooking without you!

The event was a huge success – parents swapped stories (like one of a student asking for sea salt in her Christmas stocking) and everyone snacked on some Fatty ‘Cue fare (Mermaid Cove Oysters with smoked horseradish and Meyer lemon was a crowd favorite). Oh, and did we mention we raised $8,000 for the program? That’s enough for about 9 classes to complete the whole curriculum!

A very special thank you goes out to Porter House New York, Market Table, DBGB, Lincoln, Commerce, Osteria Morini, Spring 44, Txikito, Blue Smoke, Riverpark, Employees Only, Locanda Vini & Olii, L’Artusi, L’Ecole, Niko, Tertulia, Heritage Foods, Resto, and The Lambs Club for their generous (and surely delicious) donations. And a big toast to Southern Wine & Spirits for donating cocktail provisions. Cheers to all!

Check out our Facebook page to see more photos from the event.

Using cucumber slices to taste different types of salt.

"Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt."
- George Herbert, English poet

This week was our first classroom lesson with our new curriculum! The topic was salt, which proved to be a great way to introduce the concept of five basic tastes along with a bit of the science and history behind the mineral. Meadow, a salt and chocolate shop in the neighborhood, donated an array of great salts, like Kauai Guava Smoked and Molokai red and kids tasted each type of salt on cucumber slices while learning where salt comes from, what it does in food, and how your body uses it.

Then, the class whipped up a big batch of mashed potatoes and the kids used the salts to season their own bowls of mashed potatoes, tasting the difference as they added salt. When chef/instructor Julie Negrin asked the kids how these mashed potatoes compared to other mashed potatoes they have eaten, all the kids agreed that these were "MUCH better!" When she asked "Why?" they called out "Because we made them OURSELVES!"

Click on "Read More" to get the recipe for mashed potatoes we made in class.
We are gearing up to host our first fundraiser for the program - a cocktail party at the new West Village Fatty 'Cue. The booze has been donated (thank you Southern Wine & Spirits!) the space has been secured (thanks Zak Pelaccio and the Fatty Crew!) and now the tickets are up for sale. Come on out for a good cause, a few great drinks, and a really super excuse to be out on a Monday evening. Here are the details:

Monday, November 14th

Fatty 'Cue
(50 Carmine Street, bet. Bedford & Bleecker)

5pm - 7pm

Open bar (beer, wine, signature cocktail) and light bites. $40 for P.S.3 parents and $50 for general admission.

Buy your tickets here.
Because we love the fact that our classroom lessons on preserving pork and roasting beets are in the Wall Street Journal (and because we love seeing him in the signature WSJ hedcut) we couldn't be more excited that Zak was featured as "Donor of the Day" this week for his work with The Cooking Room. Congrats!

One quick note: The fundraising party mentioned in the story has been moved and will be held in November, not next Monday. Watch this space for details!

The first class with our new curriculum is coming up in a couple of weeks and we're getting excited! We'll be posting recipes and info from the lesson on this site, so stay tuned... Can't take the anticipation? Here are some behind-the-scenes snapshots of The Cooking Room facilities to tide you over.