Leslie Anderson puts blended strawberries into a pot.
Leslie Anderson puts blended strawberries into a pot.

Aspiring young pastry chefs recently had the chance to gain some hands-on experience in the kitchen at a specialty camp.

Organized by the Youth Services Unit, the Baking 202 culinary camp was designed to make baking fun and creative, and ran from July 5-8 at the John Gray High School food and nutrition room.

To start things off, Antoinette Parris-Hoyte, a food and nutrition teacher at Clifton Hunter High School and the culinary camp coordinator, gave a brief introduction to the 15 boys and girls aged 13-16 attending the class on baking practices.

She noted the camp’s aim was to get kids involved in the culinary arts, and to help them establish a foundation in not only baking, but also marketing, in the event they one day wanted to start their own pastry businesses.

But mostly it was about having fun in the kitchen.

Using a fully equipped kitchen, Kimpton Seafire Resort pastry intern Leslie Anderson taught the children how to keep a clean workspace, and bake some delicious cakes, following recipes and carefully measuring ingredients.

On the first day of baking camp, the children learned how to make vanilla cakes with a filling made with fresh blueberries, sugar and cornstarch. The teens also learned kitchen secrets, like how to use cornstarch to thicken the fruit spread for layering the cakes.

Working in pairs, the teens prepared the cake mixture and took turns scooping it into baking pans before placing them in the pre-heated ovens.

Kayshena Powell cleans her work space.
Kayshena Powell cleans her work space.

Then it was time for Ms. Anderson to instruct the students on how to cut the top from the cake, spread the fruit filling and create layers. Kids were also taught how to keep their workplaces and utensils clean.

Jhanae Stewart, who has been enrolled in the culinary camp since its inception, said she found the baking camp educational.

“I got to learn different methods of cooking, it is also essential for youths like me to learn the kitchen because in the long run it can actually benefit us,” she said.

Rotary Sunrise again sponsored the summer camp, which is open to teens across Grand Cayman.

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