The Mediterranean Culinary Academy has just launched a new summer course that offers aspiring young chefs the chance to learn from the best in the business.
In the Junior Chef Programme, youngsters aged between 8 and 16 will learn a wide range of professional-quality culinary skills, such as simmering, sautéing, roasting and baking, as well as how to build sauces from scratch. They will also learn about flavour pairing, taste and balance in dishes.
The course will help to build their understanding of local produce and food culture – with visits to animal and vegetable farms and even an olive grove – while instructing them on proper food storage, as well as safety, organisation and hygiene in the kitchen.
“We recently ran some child-focused cooking workshops and noticed that so many children are keen to learn about food,” explains Debbie Schembri, MCA Culinary Officer. “They already enjoy dining, but want to feel more independent and accomplished in the kitchen.
“Through the Junior Chef Programme, we want to teach children that cooking isn’t just about being in the kitchen; it can help you in many in other ways, from being a confidence booster, to learning about mathematical ratios and chemical reactions. It also teaches discipline, patience and sensitivity. But, more than anything else, it is fun and creative! Putting together a plate of food on your own, and sustaining yourself without having to rely on a parent to do it, can offer a great sense of achievement.”
Youngsters attending the summer course will also learn how to prepare an impressive menu of dishes, including Pork Saltimbocca with Salsa Verde and crunchy roast potatoes, and filled pasta (made from scratch) filled with a ricotta farce and accompanied by a summer vegetable and Maltese sausage ragù. They will also be taught how to make flaky pastry for quiches, and a delicious chocolate fondant with macerated summer fruit.
After the eight-session programme is completed, there are many options for would-be chefs to continue their culinary education with the MCA. There are plans to hold a winter programme to build upon the skills learnt in the summer course, while a series of one-off workshops will focus on specific cooking techniques.