Day One at Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp - Session Two

Session Two has begun!! Amy, Elianna, the counselors and I all arrived bright and early this morning not having slept due to excitement over what today would bring! All our new campers are such a joy and I am absolutely floored by some of the food and cooking knowledge that they had to share! 

We started our morning with a fun ice breaker game. We were each given a post-it note with someone's name and favorite food on it which was then stuck to our foreheads! The next 10 minutes were filled with each of us asking questions to guess what food was on our forehead. Some of the campers had very specific foods that were really hard to guess (bolognese) but, as a group, we were able to figure them out. Once we correctly guessed the food item on our post-it note we got to seek out the person and learn, from them, why they like the food they wrote. I learned that Soliel loves gumbo; especially with crab!

After being introduced to everyone, we divided into groups and came up with group names (all fruits and veggies currently in season) and then listened as Chef Amy taught us about kitchen safety, rules and knife techniques. Our morning recipes were vegetable spring rolls and smashed cucumber salad. The campers chopped veggies (carrots, celery & peppers) and herbs (spearmint and cilantro) and wowed us with what they already knew about chopping, slicing and grating. Some campers had really great technique with the knife and hardly needed to be reminded to use their "claw."  

Jacob did a demo on how to assemble the spring rolls with rice paper wrappers once we had everything prepped. Each camper got to fill their plate with colorful, seasonal veggies and herbs (topped off with some rice noodles and Hodo Soy Yuba Strips) and make their own spring roll. I was really impressed at how easily the campers rolled their spring rolls and so excited to see that almost all the campers ate every last bite and went back for seconds, thirds and fourths!

Making spring rolls wasn't just fun; it was art!

Making spring rolls wasn't just fun; it was art!

In the afternoon, we were excited to welcome Chef Hollie from Joy Foodly into our kitchen.

Chef Hollie had something really special up her sleeve (ahem, chef's coat); we would be making naan and curry! Chef Hollie talked to us about all of the different senses we would be using while we cooked. We learned to smell the yeast as it awakened in our sugar and water mixture, to look at the bounty of colors available to us for our meal, to listen for the sound of our curry and our naan as they sizzled and fried on the stove, to touch the dough and feel for its consistency as we prepared it to rise and, finally, to taste what we had created!  Some of our campers had never had naan or curry or either one and one said she'd never had any curry that she likes but at the end of the meal we had a LOT of empty plates!

Chef Hollie had a rapt audience as she talked about curries and the campers got their hands dirty before scraping their bowls clean!

Chef Hollie had a rapt audience as she talked about curries and the campers got their hands dirty before scraping their bowls clean!

With many full bellies we all said goodbye to Chef Hollie. We did so much our first day.  I can't wait to see what day two has in store!

-Rachel