Sweeteen Camp at Spun Sugar, Berkeley. Cooking for Teens. Recommended.
Spun Sugar offers teen classes infrequently, but they're worth looking out for. This one was Monday—Friday, 9AM-1PM, for one week. My son was concerned that they'd focus too much on sweets, but the woman I spoke with explained that they prepare a full lunch each day.
From the website: Teens learn how to read a recipe, pick ingredients, use kitchen utensils including knives, whisks, measuring cups and spoons, use an oven, grill, fryer, sauce and sauté pans, prepare and chop vegetables and fruit, how to handle meat properly. Cleanliness and cooperative team work is also taught. Of course fun is a prime ingredient as well!
Monday was Azteca soup, pozole rojo, flour tortillas from scratch, veggie tacos and bunuelos. (There's always something without meat.)
Tuesday's theme was sticks and stones: stone soup, various kabobs (including pizza on a stick – weird, but they did learn to work with yeast for the dough), pound cake, stone fruit cobbler.
Wednesday was Southern: gumbo, red beans and rice, black-eyed pea salad, buttermilk biscuits, beignets, pralines, woopie pies. (Okay, that's pretty heavy on the sweets.)
Thursday was American summertime food: Potato cheddar soup, bbq chicken, chili, macaroni salad and a bunch of baked goods. They were encouraged to invite a parent to share lunch that day, but the older teens, including mine, weren't crazy about that. I wasn't allowed to show up.
On Friday they watched a movie and made white bean soup, zucchini frittatas, samosas, tomato puff pastry pies, corn dogs, and other hand-held foods.
In addition, during the week each teen made a layer cake and frosting from scratch and learned to pipe with a pastry bag AND to make beautifully colored gum paste roses. I'll try to attach a picture of the cake my son brought home. He loved doing this. The weekend after the class he followed the same recipe to make cupcakes. Though he had to manage without a stand mixer and turntable, the results were lovely. He also plans to make his grandfather's birthday dinner. This from a guy who nearly burned down the house two years ago when he heated a hot pocket in the toaster oven without removing it from the microwave sleeve first.
He'd been a tad concerned that he'd be surrounded by 13 year old girls, but though at 16, he was the oldest, there were a few 15 year olds and actually more boys than girls. The week was $300, all supplies included. At the end, he received a cookbook with all the recipes they learned. The place isn't fancy: they prepped and ate in the parking lot, but it was a good deal and a positive experience.
If anyone has experience with other teen cooking classes, please share. I did find one at the Union Square Sur La Table, but we were too late to sign up. And it was pricey.
1611 University Ave, Berkeley, CA