HRCE takes youth on international tasting tour

HRCE cooking instructor Kris Roth helps Rithanya measure cream, while teaching an international-themed cooking class. The day’s lesson was making scones and icing from scratch.

By Jackie Nelson

HESSTON – Aspiring chefs never had to leave their hometown to take an international tasting tour, led by Kris Roth at the HRCE.

Roth has taught several cooking classes through the HRCE, but this year was the first with international flavor. Roth said HRCE planner Susan Lamb proposed the idea.

“It was a challenge to wrap my brain around the theme at first. But, it turned out great to streamline it that way. It allowed me to focus on one country per day,” said Roth.

Youth bounced around the globe, starting in Italy, then Mexico, Asia and ending in the United Kingdom, making calzones to Yakisoba to scones.

Roth said being in the kitchen is a family affair, as her sons helped establish the menu and acted as tasting advisors.

I always ask them to give me ideas—since they are kids that enjoy cooking and baking, too,” she said.

Even her recipes are sourced from family members, picking up the Yakisoba noodle recipe from an aunt and another recipe from her sister.

Teaching children about cooking, Roth said, can be a challenge, but her students approach the class “with an eagerness to learn and jumped right in.”

Rithanya said she enjoyed everything that was made during the class, but “I really liked the calzones.” The greatest challenge, she said, was preparing Asian dishes.

Gunner, already an enthusiastic cook, said he was not intimidated by any of the recipes.

“My favorite thing to eat? That was everything,” he said.

Roth said that during this session, young cooks took away more than just new recipes they could make at home. With the international theme, “it allowed me to focus on one country per day and find recipes that would suit the time slots.  This allowed me to focus on each day separately and add the educational background of the country to it, as well.”

As an avid cook, Roth said distilling ideas and pairing down recipes is always a challenge.

“I want the kids to complete [dishes] in the allotted time. Also, just making the class fun, but providing clear instructions for the kids is something that takes much preparation time doing,” she said. 

Roth said the class was not without risks, asking children to choose and chop vegetables while making Asian dishes.

“There were different sauces for each of the classes that day and both classes just complimented the taste of it and the veggies they chose. I was most nervous about this day, as I didn’t know how they would do with all the steps – rice, noodles, meat, veggies and sauces. They did amazing.”

At the end of the class, Roth said she hoped her students would continue spending time in the kitchen and become more confident in their cooking.

“I have already talked with several of the kids since last week and they are already making some of the foods we made in class and preparing foods for themselves and their family.  They just need to realize that cooking can be fun and they can help do many things,” she said.

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