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Over the Easter school holidays, we’ve been running our Good Food Youth Club – four days of cookery classes and lunches – with the kids attending the holiday club at the Venchie. Each class was taught using different ingredients to create a multitude of dishes, techniques and ways to prepare and serve healthy yet delicious food.  We were delighted to run this project again after our Good Food Youth Clubs in summer and autumn 2023.

The first session was a feast for the eyes as well as tummies, as the group prepared and cooked a delicious and vibrant beetroot soup. The stark purple got a lot of the participants talking and a lot of surprised diners enjoyed a few bowls of the hearty and healthy broth. Lunch that day was a rather fancy two-course affair, with flip-master Carla manning the pans and making lots of delicious banana pancakes, which was a great pudding for our first session.

With the bar set pretty high, the anticipation around session two was seen in the high turnout for the kitchen crew. Excitingly, this meant we could put together a ‘fakeaway’ style chicken kebab lunch. With many hands making light work of the flatbread dough, as well as some generous and liberal seasoning to help marinade the chicken in a herby and spicy yoghurt mix, the meal was quickly coming together. The carrot slaw was given some zingy, seasonal flavour using wild garlic, a wonderful local ingredient that was also used as the base for a classic garlic kebab sauce. With everything put up just in time, a ravenous Venchie holiday club eagerly lined up to eat the tasty fare. The session was a success with kids and adults all agreeing that it was a hit trying lots of new flavour combinations, and having fun grilling flatbreads too! Week 1 had flown by lots of happy faces, plenty of learning, as well as tasty snacks being made. 

It was nice to see some young familiar faces that have growing interest in getting involved with cooking lunch for the community centre, and some new ones that have just joined and want to be a part of the community. 

the young chefs with their homemade ‘fakeaway’ kebab meal

Next, we made Dino turkey cutlets with a mild vegetable Katsu sauce, accompanied with pickled onion and rice with chopped green beans. It was good to see the kids getting surprised by how much mince we can get out of a crown turkey! We had our young chefs bring mince mix into holiday-themed patties, dusted with flour, then dipped in egg mix, and covered in spiced breadcrumbs. This was all served up with a side  of pickled onions which were made by warming vinegar with salt, water, oil and a bit of spice. 

As much as the young people enjoyed having fun getting breaded fingers, making innovativly shaped patties, and stirring the curry pot, our young participants were also in charge of service. They served lunch for everyone in the community centre before enjoying a plate of their well-executed collaborative cooking. We were happy to see them learning tidbits of how to make use of kitchen space and manage the place. Most diners found the crispy Dino nuggets irresistible. 

serving homemade Dino nuggets with pickled onions and veggie rice

With a slight improvement in the weather, the potential for al fresco dining was briefly on the cards until Storm Kathleen quickly shut that down. Our final session of this holiday club was a little trip down Mexico, as we knocked up some street-style spicy quesadilla, using mince and vegan alternatives; Holly’s famous two pan sizzler technique was on full show as we made plenty for the centre. The quesadillas were accompanied by a roast red pepper salsa as well as pickled chillies which left some diners with a fiery tongue! 

As always, we have got so much from the lovely time we have got to spend with Venchie during this holiday. We’re sad this set of sessions are now over but we’re looking forward to our summer classes.  Until the next time!