Two former Liverpool restaurant buddies have teamed up to host cooking classes for young chefs over the weekend.
Glenn Stavers and Georgia Riley both lost their jobs during the pandemic but decided to seize the opportunity to start their own business, Mother Dough Culinary.
Combining their experience, they run three different courses for youngsters aged five to 16, where they learn everything from preparing the perfect steak to baking bagels and breadsticks.
Glenn explains, “I already have an education business, am a dance teacher at several local secondary schools and also used to work as a waiter and standards manager in a restaurant. That’s where I met Georgia, she was the second cook there.
“When we both ended up out of work during Covid we really just had a disagreement. We already had a good working relationship and she had a number of skills that she wanted to use. I was pretty excited about kids learning life skills, so we came up with the idea of cooking classes.
“There are many schools that still do cooking or food science as part of DT, but what they do is quite limited and when it’s done now it’s a very small part of the curriculum. They have to work with the equipment they already have and they don’t necessarily have a big budget. We wanted to offer more and something different that leverages Georgia’s professional kitchen background.”
The pair began work on their Mother Dough Culinary project last summer and began their first classes at the Our House Community Hub on Heathcote Road in Walton in September.
Every semester Saturday, they now conduct three one-hour sessions for 5-7 year olds, 8-12 year olds and 13-16 year olds. All the necessary equipment and ingredients are provided, and young chefs can go home with their creations and a recipe to make again, then share the results on the Mother Dough Facebook page.
Glenn says parents of younger children usually bring them along every week, and classes are often full.
“Teenagers are more likely to do it on their own, so it may be suggested to them by a parent, they come along to a session or two, and if they enjoy it and are interested, they come along on the bus or walk here,” he adds.
Classes are usually themed, starting with basic skills like knife skills and a mix of sweet and savory dishes.
“Our final semester focused on pastries, so we did classes on brandy, puff pastry and coarse crust, and we also did a semester on meat, so things like chorizo and how best to cook steaks. We’ve been quite ambitious with some of our recipes, we’ve made eclairs and poached pear tart recently, but we also want to teach the kids how to cook dishes that they’re going to use quite a bit, not just things that are going to be impressive.”
He believes that cooking skills are vital for all ages, but the most important thing is that learning is fun and engaging.
“The middle age group is particularly fond of trying to hit each other,” he says. “They like to see who’s come out best, if someone’s done something wrong we make a little joke about it and see how it can be improved, and when someone’s got the best everyone wants to go and take a look and ask questions .
“Georgia will explain that it’s because they did X or Y, maybe they were stirring slowly or they were very vigorous or they measured the ingredients really carefully so they’re not just benefiting from their real professional kitchen experience. everyone also learns from each other.”
Teens are acquiring skills that will hopefully help them be more independent as they leave home and enter college.
“Being able to cook when you leave the house not only means you don’t make a living off takeaways, it can be a social thing, it helps build bonds and relationships, so it’s also a pretty important social skill to have.” must have.”
Glenn says, regardless of age, the one thing all young chefs love is the opportunity to show their culinary creations to their families.
“It often happens that grandma or an aunt is the main cook in the family, and when one of the children has just baked something for the first time, they look forward to bringing it to her house and hearing her opinion, because they are am so proud of it.
“It’s good to have hands-on cooking skills, but that sense of accomplishment and confidence that comes from knowing what to do with ingredients is a great thing.”
Find out more on the Mother Dough Cooking Facebook page here.