Food Monthly: Kid’s capersBy Linda Fort
May 15, 2009
Le Cordon Bleu Henley Food Festival is a great day out for gourmet mum and dad. But what is there for the children to do?
Running a children’s party is one of the most exhausting things a mum or dad can ever do.
Taking part in a marathon wearing a gigantic giraffe suit would be a walk in the park by comparison. But Amanda Giles, from Charvil, has come up with
the solution for the perfect children’s party – by getting the children to do some of the work.
Amanda, 43, runs Kitchen Capers with her partner, Dara MacNaughton, 40.
She explained: “We started doing this five years ago. We were both mums who really loved cooking.”
Kitchen Capers runs cooking parties for children. The youngsters get together under Amanda’s watchful eye and cook their party food.
She said: “People tend to think this is a girl thing but it’s not. I have three boys who really love cooking and this weekend I am doing a party for boys.”
Amanda has run her parties in every kind of household from stately homes to a terraced houses.
She said: “We get a complete mix of children – a complete range of skills from children who have done quite a bit of cooking to children who have done none at all and whose families don’t cook.
“They all enjoy having a go. The great thing about it is that it is non-competitive. You know what children’s parties can be like with some children trying to win everything. Well, with my parties it is about about that social thing of cooking together.”
The children also play lots of food games and take part in food quizzes.
Amanda, who has a degree in hotel and catering and experience in army catering, cooks traditional family party food. She cooks everything from scratch using real ingredients – no packet mixes. She offers things like pizzas, making the dough as well as the topping, herb bread, turkey burgers and fancy cakes.
She tailors the cooking to suit children of different ages and also runs games and puzzles.
Kitchen Capers, which also sells a special line in child-sized chef’s clothes, will be at Le Cordon Bleu Henley Food Festival running a food trail to keep the youngsters interested.
The children will be looking for answers to a series of quiz questions throughout the day and their entries will go into a prize draw for to win a free Kitchen Capers party.
Amanda will also be giving away 50 children’s baking sets to the first 50 people to visit her stall on each of the two days of the festival.
Organisers have devised lots of other things for children to do.
Village Workshop creates gingerbread and chocolate houses and during the course of the festival, youngsters will be able to visit its stand in the retail area and have fun decorating their own edible house.
Village Workshop also sells kits to build your own gingerbread house at home.
If your children take an interest in the washing as well as the cooking, they will be fascinated by the Ecover Environmental Igloo. Ecover makes environmentally friendly cleaning and laundry products and the company will be bringing its eco-igloo to the festival.
Once inside, children can find out all about the damage the family washing can do to the environment and what they can do to help.
The vision of an Italian family meal with Mamma making the pasta sauce is an evocation of perfect family life.
Lively conversation and hearty appetites for that very healthy Mediterranean diet are everything that a family supper time should be.
Children brought up in that kind of atmosphere cannot help but learn about good food and great cooking.
Caldesi’s Pizza and Pasta Tables will be at the festival and Italian chef Giancarlo Caldesi will be there, showing children how to make simple pizza and pasta dishes. He will be there in his own Caldesi e Amici in the Campagna marquee (see pages 4&5).
The Team Activity Group will be on hand on the Sunday of the festival weekend running great games for children including Giant Jenga, Big Chess and safe archery.