Welcome to Jacican

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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.

Jaci

 

Kids Cooking in Gippsland

Involving children in meal preparation has many benefits, according to local Gippsland chef, Jaci Hicken, who conducts her “Kids in the Kitchen” cooking program every school holidays in Mirboo Nth.

 Jaci says it's important to make sure kids have a fun and engaging time in the kitchen and that they learn to cook simple things to begin with. “Benefits include encouraging picky eaters to try new foods and educating kids about where their food comes from, so that they make better food choices when they are older,” she says.

 

 

Every school holidays, Jacican Food Studio opens its doors to the next generation of primary school aged chefs, who are interested in learning and cooking. “Kids from all over Gippsland get to spend time with a real chef to learn food skills to make a variety of dishes depending on which class they choose.”

Classes change every school holidays, we have international food themes, party food, desserts, macarons, cake decorating and lolly making classes, “said Jaci.

Jaci says the trick to teaching children how to cook is to keep recipes simple. “I make a recipe book for each child, it has simple steps and pictures they can follow with me, and they can take it home so they can continue to cook afterwards.”

Make sure there are lots of little tasks that are easy for kids to complete, so that they can gain confidence as they go along,” she added.

 

Kids making pasta

 

While Jaci has a well equipped kitchen for the kids classes, she stresses that whatever you have in your own kitchen at home is the “right equipment” for teaching kids. “Kids will be comfortable with the main simple objects such as bowls, spoons, hand beaters, graters in your kitchen so they know what they can use to cook daily.”

The kids in Jaci's Kids in the Kitchen Classes vary in age from 5 years old up to 12 years, and she says they all get along well for the day and help each other out. “The older kids get friendly with the younger ones and then show them what they know and help the younger ones learn how to do simple tasks, its really a great exercise in sharing.”

While all the food in the “Kids in the Kitchen” classes are sure to be enjoyed by all the kids, Jaci says cooking with children, especially fussy eaters, can encourage them to eat a wider range of foods.

Kids are more likely to taste what they make themselves, out of curiosity of course!” she says.

If its a new food, don't make a big fuss out of it, one bite is enough to start with, and you never know, over time, they may start to eat more of that particular food.”

With many small hands in the kitchen, Jaci says it important to always be very patient when cooking with the kids. “I always factor in extra time, even with simple recipes, so all the kids can have a go and learn the skills. They will get faster as they go along.”

Advice for mums and dads cooking with their kids is that they should resist the urge to “do it themselves” because its faster. “It's hard I know, but if you don't let them try on their own, they might never learn proper cooking skills.”

 

Five Main Tips for Cooking with Kids from Jaci Include:

  1. Make lots of time for cooking and baking with your kids.

  2. Find easy and simple recipes with only a few key steps.

  3. Use basic kitchen utensils and crockery that kids are familiar with.

  4. Get fussy little eaters to cook themselves and try new foods.

  5. Be very patient and let kids complete the tasks at their own pace.

 

Cooking classes can also be done during the year by special bookings as birthday parties and other events, and gift vouchers are available for the little chef in your family to receive a bespoke cooking experience in Gippsland to cook and learn with their own personal chef Jaci.

 

I love seeing local Gippsland kids coming to together to cook, share and learn new skills, and then go back to school to tell their friends about the unique food adventures they have had on the school holidays.”

For more information about the “Kids In the Kitchen” cooking program in Mirboo North in Gippsland, please visit www.jacican.com.au or call 03 5668 2475 or @Jacican on social media.

 

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