I was struggling to come up with a creative idea for my six-year-old daughter's birthday party, when she said, "I'd like a chef to give my friends and me a cooking lesson." Brilliant!
So, I contacted Kitchit, who recommended Chef Nicole. I'm so glad that they did, because Nicole was beyond delightful throughout the entire experience.
When I explained the idea for the party, Nicole was immediately enthusiastic. She asked me a number of questions to help her customize a menu for the tiny guests, in terms of their likes, dislikes, and allergies, as well as our intended goal for the event (i.e., did we want more of a cooking demonstration, or a hands-on experience?) We picked the latter, and she didn't mind at all.
On the day of the event, Nicole showed up with an assistant, which was such a terrific idea, as a number of parents who initially said that they would stay to help decided to drop their kids off, instead. Nicole and her assistant immediately made themselves at home in my kitchen, which I loved, and started preparing nibbles for the guests to enjoy, both before and during the lesson.
When it was time for the lesson, Nicole deftly grabbed the attention of the group, which was no easy task, since we were showing "Ratatouille" and doing an art project in the other room. Nicole explained that the first job of a chef is to have clean hands (which I appreciated, because I'm a germaphobe), and asked them to wash their hands before the lesson. In a single-file line, the tiny "chefs", all decked out in personalized aprons (which I had ordered as party favors from another company), obediently marched in a single line to wash hands.
Then it was lesson time. Nicole was sweet, patient, kind, friendly, and informative. My daughter, my son (who was allowed by my benevolent daughter to participate in the lesson), and the party guests were each given turns to measure, crack (eggs), pour, stir, and mix their way to completing a series of child-appropriate recipes. They loved each moment, and so did I.
Another cool part of the experience is that the food that the kids prepared with Nicole was actually the food that was served at the party. So, instead of my having to order in pizzas, the kids were able to make their own pizza (including stretching out their own dough), and top their pizzas with an assortment of toppings that Nicole brought. She even brought enough dough and toppings for the grown-ups!
Another child-appropriate element of the party was a "cupcake decorating contest", which was another one of Nicole's ideas. The cupcakes were actually healthy banana cupcakes. I'm not sure how healthy the frosting was, but it was delicious! And, understanding how easily children get their feelings hurt, after praising the unique qualities of each and every cupcake, Nicole wisely announced that everyone was a winner. I was relieved, as we had made it several hours without a single tear.
After the cooking lesson, Nicole and her assistant completely cleaned up my kitchen, so that there was barely a sign that ten junior chefs had been there moments before.
Now, for those of you who think that a Kitchit event is an overly-indulgent thing to give a child, let me assure you that the event was entirely geared toward children (we did smoothies, hummus, banana cupcakes, and gluten-free pizzas). The menu was lovely, but it wasn't ostentatious or overly sophisticated in the least. Plus, the per-person cost of the event was very reasonable, and far less than what I would have paid at most of the birthday venues in the local area. On that note, I just couldn't bear to attend, much less host, another birthday party at one of those places. So, doing a Kitchit event was a new idea, one which served a number of purposes.
Lastly, when I asked my daughter what she thought about her birthday, she said that it was "the best". What more could a mother hope for? I owe all of this to Nicole. I can't thank her enough.