By KEN LAMPTON & SHELIA HUFFMAN
Re/Max About Dallas
Cook up some summer fun at the Gourmet Girls and Guys Summer Cooking Camp. It’s a hands on cooking school for all age boys and girls taught by Susan Hamm of Monticello Avenue.
Each summer Susan teaches young students, new and returning, the wonderful art of cooking with captivating themes such as Eat A Rainbow, I Can Cook Dinner, and new this year, Cupcake Crazy.
I visited the small and friendly classroom in Susan’s home on Tuesday morning, July 10, and got to see firsthand the quality of the camp. Arts and craft time had produced colorful aprons and beautiful cookbooks. Later everyone gathered in the kitchen around the big island, after, of course, a thorough hand washing and began preparing today’s recipe - Apricot Tartlets.
The appointed recipe reader shared the recipe aloud while the head chef began measuring the ingredients. (Jobs are changed out daily so that everyone gets a chance to experience various aspects of food preparation). The dough was rolled, cut, filled and folded into pinwheels, then popped into the oven while Susan instructed basic skills of pastry making.
When asked how she got started with the cooking camp, Susan says, “When I was 10, I won a blue ribbon at the local county fair for making a batch of Sand Tart cookies so I've always enjoyed cooking but never given it much thought as a special talent or potential career. Nine years ago, my sister-in-law asked me to teach my 9-year old niece to cook. I thought about it and realized that I would like to do that. A few months later, my 6-year old daughter, Lauren, went to a creative home camp in the neighborhood. I thought something similar would be a smart way to spend time with my child as well as being able to share my interest in cooking and crafts with other children.”
The camp has been a huge success and celebrates its ninth year this summer. In addition to cooking and crafting, the campers go on field trips to local retailers like the Dallas Farmer's Market, Society Bakery, Whole Foods, Cici's Pizza and Henry's Ice Cream.
About the camp and the kids, Susan says, “I think children who come to our camp enjoy the mixture of structured and free-play time and leave with a new comfort level in the kitchen, and in many cases, having tried foods they wouldn't have thought they would like. Cooking touches on so many life skills and since not all moms (or dads) know how to cook, can be a positive skill to share at home and throughout one's life.”
Ken and I agree and we think this proves once again why our M-Street/Lakewood neighborhood is a special place to live.
Have a child interested in learning some great cooking skills while having fun? Contact Susan at 214-826-2002.