“I went to Spain and now I’m making a cookbook,” said 9-year-old Toby Butler.
Children were given the opportunity to make simple dishes from countries around the world and learn other valuable food-related lessons in five different sessions conducted by master chefs, local restaurant owners and other experts. A custom-made cookbook, various handouts and door prizes were also given to the young cooks.
The cooking school was sponsored by Portsmouth Area Arts Council, Southern Ohio Medical Center and the Portsmouth Public Library as a fundraising effort for PAAC.
DeLynn Coppoletti, PAAC executive director, said the morning session — for children 6 to 11 — was sold out, with 100 kids participating. An afternoon session was conducted for ages 12 through 17.
“It’s bigger than last year,” Coppoletti said. “France, Spain, England, Asia and Italy are represented and different chefs represent each country.”
Noelle Horsley represented Asia; Bill Schaefer of Haute Stuff Chef Service taught recipes from Italy; Drew Throckmorton from The Wharf sponsored recipes from Spain; Mary Rase of Market Street Café represented France; Beth Haney of Hatti Beaslys represented England and also conducted the “Manners” session.
In its second year, Coppoletti said a new addition to the event was the appearance of Throckmorton, who recently graduated from culinary school in Florida.
Traveling from station to station, youngsters learned how to prepare a variety of basic menu items from the various countries, and Haney treated the kids to tips on manners, including table settings, table manners and basic hospitality.
“We decided that we can dress up and look great and go out with our families, but if we act badly, we’ve blown it,” Haney said as she instructed the children. “They’ve been very responsive. They want to know how to act.”
Portsmouth Public Library offered a display of cookbooks and books about customs from other countries, and library staff members assisted the young chefs in assembling their own personal cookbook of international recipes.
“My daughter likes to help me out in the kitchen any time she can,” said Angie Burke, who brought her daughter, Maddie, 9, to the event.
Eight-year-old Clara Hash, 8, said the event was “really fun. I liked how we made the soup, and I like how we made our own cookbook.”
Megan Knox, 10, said she liked making the cookbook, too, with all the recipes from different countries.
All proceeds from the cooking school go to the PAAC’s Outreach Fund which is used to bring live performances to area schools that are financially unable to send classes to a PAAC-sponsored performance at Shawnee State University’s Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234.