I hope people know I’m not ONLY teaching cooking…
The kids are getting an overdose of tough love in my kitchen this week! Hell, all the ass kicking I’m doing, you would think I was teaching martial arts. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids we’re working with in the Courageous Kitchen, but they’re struggling the past few days to cope with new challenges that pull them out of their comfort zone.
Last week I made them nervous when I announced they would for the first time be cooking for real, paying customers. We occasionally pretend the adults who are regular faces in the kitchen are customers who’ve just arrived in their restaurant. When someone arrives at the house, while we’re in the midst of smoking the kitchen up, I’ll yell out, “Hurry, the customers are already here!”
That was all fun and games until they found out it wasn’t all fun and games. Fellow Courageous Kitchen teacher Christy and I, had already been planning to host a dinner. A few weeks before she signed us up on a site called Plate Culture, which is like Airbnb for food in South East Asia. Basically, you can book to eat in a strangers home, the same way you would reserve a restaurant or hotel from the web.
This wasn’t only a chance to showcase the girls, but also one of the families we support through In Search of Sanuk, who makes wonderful, homemade Northern Indian food. Even without being fully in the spotlight, the kids were still pretty timid with all the new faces. When it was time to introduce them with everyone else who helped in the kitchen, they all suddenly had to go to the bathroom!
There’s only one way to fix a yellow streak…
There’s only one way to fix such a yellow streak, baptism by fire! Three days after hosting our first dinner guests, my timid mini-chefs participated in the International Creator’s Fair. The event is one of the longer running markets in Bangkok and has in the past year or so, attracted a wide range of food vendors. The kids joined the WorldFoods’ table to sell their massaman quesadillas and basil-melon lemonade to the handful of people who noticed them whispering and shoving food in their direction.
Although I had to do a lot of coaxing (read: threatening, begging, and pleading) to get them through both events, they survived and they’ve promised they’ll do better next time. I’m going to hold them to it and keep up the big doses of tough kitchen parenting each week. The hot, Thai holiday month of April is just beginning and I need to whip them into shape as I arrange for them to learn with a long list of talented chefs and serious foodies. I’m looking forward to sharing more ass-kicking kitchen adventures with the kids, whether good or bad!
Thanks for reading! This month of Courageous Kitchen activities is sponsored by WorldFoods Asian Cooking Sauces. You can also help too by visiting In Search of Sanuk to make a donation toward continuing our cooking classes with underprivileged kids and teens.