Helping kids cook up a storm

Children have to eat and what better way to make sure that they eat well - while also ensuring that they are occupied and entertained over the school holidays, so that put upon parents can enjoy some peace - than by signing your little ones up for a cookery class? When you put it like that, cooking classes begin to look like a great idea - something Bernadette Ryder realised late last year.

Subsequently Bernadette, 46, of Keats Way, Greenford set up Kiddy Cook offering youngsters the chance to prepare and produce food in an informative - Ryder realises the importance of educating the next generation of foodies -  yet fun way. The mother of two currently runs ‘Cookie Tot’ classes for two to four year olds and ‘Kiddy Cook’ classes for ages five to 11.

Both classes allow kids to get creative - exploring, preparing and tasting recipes - while also discovering the difference between good and bad fats and the chemical processes (such as how carbon dioxide makes cake rise) involved in cooking.

Lesley Tuohy, who met Ryder on the school run seven years ago and has nominated Bernadette in our ‘Business Champion’ category, is a big fan of Kiddy Cook.

“I think it’s a fabulous idea,” Tuohy told the Ealing Gazette. “Even if parents are keen cooks or food lovers themselves, they are often too busy with work, washing and other household chores to spend extra time in the kitchen teaching children culinary skills. Bernadette’s classes show the kids that meals don't just come out of cartons - you have to put in the work - but that it can be fun.”

Ryder credits her own 15 year old daughter and 11 year old son with inspiring her to launch Kiddy Cook in September 2013. “I have cooked with both my children and that’s partly where I got the idea from,” she explains.  “I have always had an interest in food and decided that I could set up this new venture. I wanted something new that I could get my teeth into and could manage myself.”

“I want children to enjoy the experience of cooking and show them that homemade food is better than shop-bought meals and that it doesn’t take that much time. Cooking is a skill for life and it’s sociable as well.”

If we’re to conquer Britain’s culture of obesity, fast food, poor diet and lack of family dinners, initiatives such as Kiddy Cook - teaching children good eating habits - can only help.