Some Glendale kids master piano or aim for a basketball hoop after the bell rings. For nine local kids, after school means rolling out ravioli dough in a pasta maker or holding a bowl steady while stirring chocolate-chip cookie batter.
This class doesn't have a grade, but the reward is cheese, chocolate and cooking insight.
Ecole de Cuisine is offering a class for children ages 4 to 12 years old taught by several cooking experts in partnership with the city of Glendale. The culinary academy is based in Pasadena and run by Farid Zadi, former chief instructor at Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. The weekly class will be offered again in a five-week session in Februrary on three separate days.
Each child has the chance to roll up their sleeves and experiment with different worldwide recipes. The diverse group of five cooking instructors offers valuable lessons such as teamwork, taking turns and sharing, said Susan Park, program director for Ecole de Cuisine Pasadena.
"They have a sense of community by cooking together," Park said. "We want to bring kids together culturally and socially through food."
The class incorporates recipes that are simple, multicultural dishes, such as enchiladas, Korean barbecue or ravioli.
"In Los Angles there are some very different cultural backgrounds, and I think the students like that there are lots of cultures here," Park said.
The class has instructors who speak a variety of languages, including Arabic, Armenian, French, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Tagalog.
"We really reflect the population in the area," Park said.
Angela Hong, a seventh-grader at Toll Middle School, joined the class to help her family with food preparation, she said.
"I was interested in cooking," Angela said. "At home I don't know how to cook, and I want to help my mom with cooking."
Although she was most excited about chocolate-chip cookies, exploring different foods was something 12-year-old Toll Middle School student Lily Zierhut was interested in, she said.
"I like the feeling of making different foods," Lily said.
Instructors invite the children to mix bowls with a Kitchen-Aid mixer, taste test ingredients and practice cooking and cleaning skills. Participants follow the instructors through the kitchen to see how they can help.
Ramon Winkler, a 9-year-old Burbank resident and Victory Boulevard Elementary School student didn't want to join the class at first, but now he is happy to try out new foods, especially grilled chicken, he said.
"I just like to cook a lot," Ramon said.
In addition to creating dishes, Whole Foods Market Glendale donates healthy snacks with milk and juice for the children in each class.
The class costs $50 for each five-week session and meets for one hour. A materials fee of $25 is also added for the class materials and ingredients. There are 12 spaces available in each class.
To sign up a future chef or food connoisseur, visit http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us. Community members can also call the Glendale Adult Recreation Center, (818) 548-3778, or visit the community kitchen at the center, 201 E. Colorado St., Glendale.