Some teenagers are acquiring tasty, hands-on skills during their March Break in Nova Scotia this year.
Mike Black owns the Black Spoon Bistro in North Sydney with his wife Monica and decided to offer a culinary camp during the school break.
"We're surprised at the actual amount of people that want to learn," said Black. "It's just kind of awesome that people do want to learn and we just thought, 'Why not teach them my limited knowledge?'"
He said 16 teenagers signed up. The week allows the campers to dig into all meal types: the first day started with breakfast, the second with lunch and the third supper.
They've been busy frying eggs, making potato pancakes, chopping and mincing. They've even created pasta from scratch.
"They're getting ready for life," said Black.
Fun with food
Reagan MacLean, 12, said it's been very useful. "I was surprised at myself because I didn't know how to do half this stuff. I didn't even know how to cut things properly or use a knife," said MacLean.
She said the lessons will help her eat healthily and avoid the local McDonald's.
The apron-clad teenage campers spread across the Black Spoon in small groups, rolling out the pasta, then making several sauces, plus meatballs (or bean balls for the vegetarians).
"Not only is it fun, but you can also experiment with new things," said 13-year-old Liam Tingley as he stirred the marinara sauce.
Guacamole and cumin?
Campers said they encountered some surprises. "I liked making the pasta. I always thought it would be really complicated to make, but it's not," said Ariel Coish. "I'm probably going to make it at home."
Others, like 14-year-old Sara Cantwell, learned about the wonders of spices. "Pretty much everything we did I learned something new, but to put cumin in your guacamole? I never would have thought of that."
"I learned lots of interesting recipes and how to use knifes properly," said Jacob MacDonald. "I really like it."
"I really, really enjoyed the candied bacon we learned to make," added MacLean.
Armed with their new culinary knowledge, many say they'll be slicing and dicing up a storm in their family kitchens.
"We're learning how to make Alfredo sauce, so instead of using Sidekicks, I'll be able to make my own," said Cantwell.