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Where can I take my teenage cousin to eat and learn about cooking?

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My cousin is 15 and is really passionate about cooking (and the food network...). She's going to Cake Boss with her dad and is taking italian and a french pastry cooking classes in the city.

I want to take her to dinner where she can either a) watch the food being made b) meet the chef and/or c) learn about cooking and cuisine.

It would be so amazing if anyone knew of a tiny place where the chef is friendly and might even be willing to surprise her by taking her back to the kitchen. I know that's pretty much impossible but I figured I'd ask anyway. Doesn't have to be dinner-- a bakery or cafe would be great as well.

I just want her to have a memorable experience! Any and all suggestions welcome. We'll be hanging out this Saturday and Sunday.

Thanks!

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  1. Are you specifically looking for French and Italian options? If not, you can sit at the counter at Casa Mono and Kin Shop and watch the chefs prepare the food. A pricier option would be Momofuku Ko if you can get a reservation.

    Chefs are generally friendly and frequently go out of their way to meet diners, but just be aware that their time is very limited and kitchen tours, especially in a tiny kitchen, might not be the best idea if the restaurant is busy. But I would also be curious to hear about any suggestions.

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    Casa Mono
    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

    Momofuku Ko
    163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Kin Shop
    469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    2 Replies
    1. re: peter j

      Doesn't have to be French or Italian. Casa Mono and Kin Shop are great suggestions, although I'm worried the menus might be too adventurous for her, but I'll think about it. Thanks for replying so quickly!

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      Casa Mono
      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

      Kin Shop
      469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      1. re: sf2167

        You might want to take a look at the ICI offerings. They have wonderful classes and there may be one that you could go to with her. International Culinary Institute. I have loved their classes!!

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        Institute of Culinary Education
        50 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

    2. The best in the kitchen table i can think of is Hearth.. You see everything going down.

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      Hearth
      403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

      1. For a fancy-ish dinner that would still be fun, WD-50 could be good. Wylie Dufresne is very friendly about having diners in the kitchen, and if you let the staff know beforehand they might even be able to time the kitchen visit special for you, at a point where he'll be doing something Mr. Wizard-y with liquid nitrogen, or making bagel ice cream, or something that'd be especially entertaining for a teenager.

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        WD-50
        50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

        1. Natural Gourmet has a 4 course Friday night dinner for $40. Very eclectic and fun mix of people.

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          Natural Gourmet Institute
          48 W 21st St, New York, NY 10010