While many children avoid the summer heat by the pool or playing video games, others face the heat head-on — in the kitchen.
For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management is partnering with the Dr. Phillips YMCA Family Center Chef Camp to introduce youngsters to the joys of cooking, teamwork and tasting the fruits of their labor.
The camp, lead by YMCA Counselor Chef Dave Minnick, is designed to give youth the opportunity to learn about the culinary arts and “inspire more quality time at home with their families, cooking and eating healthier meals.”
About 65 campers, ages 9 to 12, will visit Rosen College on Thursdays over the next five weeks beginning July 23. Wearing chef hats and aprons, campers will prepare recipes selected by Rosen College senior lab technician Renee Bence.
Campers will prepare and taste chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, ice cream and English muffin pizzas. “It’s not uncommon to see the ‘chefs’ standing on milk crates because they can’t reach the top of the counters,” said Alyson Hayes, a Rosen College culinary lab assistant.
Before field trips, Minnick introduces the campers to kitchen safety, sanitation, culinary terms, conversion charts, cooking methods, table etiquette, presentation and nutrition. He chose to partner with UCF as an external hands-on experience to complement the YMCA curriculum and provide variety to campers.
Although not a culinary institution, Rosen College enjoys teaching future hospitality leaders. “We want to introduce our college to a younger local generation, so they’ll remember us when considering higher education,” Hayes said.
The campers will also visit the Orlando Culinary Academy, Rosen Centre Hotel, Planet Hollywood, California Pizza Kitchen, Whole Foods Market, The Fresh Market, Roy’s Restaurant, Stonewood Grill & Tavern, Seasons 52 and American Pie Pizza Company.
To participate in the Chef Camp, please contact the Dr. Phillips YMCA Family Center at 407-351-9417.