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Kid cooks learn the basics in mobile classroom at Community Center

Kid cooks learn the basics in mobile classroom at Community Center
Instructor Cathey Ross adds fat-free half-and-half to students' pans Tuesday during a Junior Chef University cooking class, held in a mobile kitchen trailer at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge. (Dan Watson / La Cañada Valley Sun)

Young foodies found a home at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge Tuesday, beginning a six-week series of cooking lessons through Junior Chef University, a mobile classroom with a mission to get kids comfortable in the kitchen.

Instructor Cathey Ross explained to a group of would-be chefs they’d spend the one-hour session preparing skinny chicken Alfredo, an easy and healthier take on the Italian American classic. Before the fun, participants washed their hands and learned how to hold and use their plastic serrated knives.

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“I want them to feel empowered, like they can do anything in the kitchen,” the Duarte resident explained of Junior Chef University, launched in January. “My hope is they learn the core lessons and they’re not scared.”

Students peeled and minced garlic, diced chicken and sautéed the ingredients on a stove top with reduced fat dairy, healthy vegetables and angel hair pasta.

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Benjamin Kim, 6, tastes the skinny chicken alfredo he made during the Junior Chef University cooking class held Tuesday.
Benjamin Kim, 6, tastes the skinny chicken alfredo he made during the Junior Chef University cooking class held Tuesday. (Dan Watson / La Cañada Valley Sun)

In the 9 and older class (which follows an earlier session for kids 5 to 8) students tasted their handiwork. Sisters Paloma and Elia Elfassi of Glendale opted for a vegetarian version while nearby, a group of La Cañada High School 7/8 students raved over their results.

“I finished all of it — that means it’s good,” said 11-year-old Lori Khatchaturian, who enrolled in the class with twin sister Lily.

Classmate Jada Yang, 12, agreed.

“I’m really surprised at how elaborate this class is and how good it turned out,” said Yang, who’s not new to the cooking class circuit. “Other classes just told you what to do and you did it, but this class goes into depth.”

As for recommendations for future lessons?

“I’d probably want to make cookies, or a doughnut with jelly inside,” said 11-year-old Emma Chen. “Or sushi!”

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