Friday, July 11, 2008

Science of Cooking at Young Chef's Academy

One of the prizes at the GUESS Homeschool Science Fair was a class at the Young Chef's Academy in Ghent. Sarah Horne at YCA donated a "Science of Cooking" class for the 10 winners of the Emil Fisher Award for Sweet Experimentation.

I must admit I had a few misgivings about the wisdom of teaching all those age groups together -- she had a 4-year-old all the way up to an 11-year-old. I was also wondering how she could keep ten kids in their seats, safe, patient, and engaged with such a personal, hands-on thing as cooking. The parents were encouraged to drop off and come back later, but I stayed to take pictures of the class and also to help if needed. I was sure I would be needed.

I did NOT need to worry like that! Sarah Horne is a BRILLIANT, GIFTED teacher. Her deft handling of the activities and the students was incredible to watch. I ended up being richly entertained during the hour I spent watching her teach, and completely indelibly impressed.

In my experience, there are two types of "funny" teachers -- the type who are actually engaged with the kids, and the type whose true audience are the parents watching. Sarah played straight to the kids, and they found her completely hilarious.

One of the students, Michael, was so totally informed on all the issues she discussed (floating eggs and active yeast, among other things) that he was answering all the questions. He even knew what albumen was. Shocking. She teased him mercilessly but affectionately, and he spent the class modestly pleased with himself. Another teacher would have felt annoyed or intimidated by a kid who knew the answers before they came out of her mouth -- Sarah just worked him into her act. It was a beautiful thing.

I highly, highly recommend the Young Chef's Academy in Ghent -- a master teacher in her element is a sight to behold. Your children WILL have a fantastic time, and there is still time to get in on their Olympic-themed summer camps.

You can see all my pictures and another video in my YCA Flickr Set.

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