Stand aside, Jamie. Here come the junior chefs

There's a revolution in the kitchen as a classic recipe book publishes a children's edition and cookery courses target two-year-olds

With their penchant for throwing hissy fits and random items of kitchen equipment, childish behaviour comes naturally to most chefs. This perhaps goes some way to explain why the average age of Britain's newest foodies is plummeting. Children as young as two years old are moving quickly from smearing food around their plates to prove their gourmet credentials, inspired by television programmes and a range of specialist classes, according to cookery experts.

A clutch of cookbooks aimed at children has helped to inspire interest. The latest, a child-friendly version of the bestselling Italian food bible, The Silver Spoon, comes out tomorrow. Its recipes go from simple pasta dishes such as spaghetti with tomato sauce to more elaborate ones including baked cod with vegetables or roast leg of lamb in a herb crust with stuffed tomatoes.

Amanda Grant, a food writer who adapted the recipes in The Silver Spoon for Children, said: "More children are becoming involved on a variety of levels." This includes not only cooking recipes but also shopping for specialist food items, such as unusual types of mushroom or particular cuts of meat, according to shopkeepers and farmers' market stallholders.

Nathan Mills, the manager of the Ginger Pig butcher in Borough Market, south London, said that the age of his customers was falling. "We had a couple of young girls come in recently who were able to tell me I was cutting up chuck steak and that it was 'very good for stewing'. I was quite impressed they knew that, because they must have only been nine."

Stefan Gates, who presents the BBC's Gastronuts programme, which is aimed at eight- to 12-year-olds, said there was an "extraordinary and palpable sense of reawakening among kids – an idea that food is perhaps allowed to be fun and that experimenting with food can be exciting and cool".

Cooking courses for children now start at ages two and up and are multiplying fast, with holiday-time classes regularly oversubscribed.

Annabel Karmel, who has created a mini children's food empire spanning cookbooks, ready meals and eating utensils, said the courses she ran for Haven Holidays had up to 150 kids at each session.

"The classes are 90 minutes, but you can't get them out after two hour. because they're loving it so much," she said. "Cooking appeals because children like to be part of the adult world. Plus, parents like getting children cooking because it can help with fussy eaters."

Britain's best-known young cook is Sam Stern, who published his first recipe book aged 14 with the help of his mother. He has since turned himself into a media sensation, recently publishing one written for students.

What's cooking, kids? Making pasta? It's child's play

Spaghetti with tomato sauce Makes enough for four people

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon light brown

soft sugar

1-2 garlic cloves, depending

on how much garlic you like

400g spaghetti

10 fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Put the tin of tomatoes into a saucepan and add the sugar.

2. Squash the cloves of garlic slightly with a rolling pin, then peel the garlic and add to the tomatoes.

3. Bring the tomatoes up to a gentle simmer, cover and cook very gently over a very low heat for about 40 minutes. Stir the tomatoes occasionally with a wooden spoon.

4. When your sauce is nearly ready, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti. Then drain the spaghetti – ask an adult to help you – and put it back into the pan.

5. Take the tomato sauce off the heat, tear the basil leaves into small pieces and add to the sauce, together with the oil.

6. Carefully pour or ladle the sauce over the spaghetti, mix together and serve immediately.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible