Quantcast
Latest Stories

Cooking up something special

By

When I started my cooking school for children 15 years ago, all I wanted was work that was home-based.

Starting with nine children, Tiny Kitchen grew slowly over the years. I grew along with it, perfecting the completely hands-on approach I adopted from the very start, as I taught kids what I liked to cook myself when I was their age.

I have been teaching kids aged 4 to 19. Having had more than 5,000 “graduates,” Filipinos and foreigners, Tiny Kitchen has taught me a lot about kids. But I learned the most from the students with special needs.

When parents of children with autism started asking if their kids could enroll, I did not see any reason to refuse. Some of the children were accompanied by “shadow teachers” and I was supposed to direct my instructions to these trusted adults instead of talking directly to the kids and looking them in the eye.

But as classes got busy, I would forget and talk directly to the kids, who looked me in the eye and did what I told them to do.

Most of them blended in with the rest of the class. I found that cooking could be very democratic. Working side by side, although mentored one on one, no one noticed (or cared) if kids with learning disabilities were slower than the rest or at par only with those half their age.

Some stood out for a number of reasons—Nathan (not his real name), a good looking mestizo kid would let out a loud “Yes, your highness!” or “Yes, your majesty!” every time I gave him an instruction and several heads would turn.

No one failed to notice Dexter (also not his real name), a precocious little boy who kept turning the lights on and off, making the kitchen look like a disco with flashing lights.

Dexter also inadvertently killed all the fish in one of our aquariums by dumping into it half a kilo of rabbit food.

Other kids were physically handicapped. When a mother told me her son was “lacking digits,” I did not know what she meant until I saw him struggle to grasp a wooden spoon. He had one hand without a thumb, which made it hard to work with most kitchen equipment. I do not even know how we completed the course.

Later, I had an extrovert female student with only three digits on each hand. It took a while for me to realize that because she was so nimble and adept despite the missing fingers. She was also the sunniest kid in class.

When it comes to cooking, special children are just like everyone else. They love the same pastas, pizzas and cupcakes, even if some of them have to use ingredients like gluten-free flour or dairy-free butter.

For them, cooking, just as it is for the other students, is also a very practical skill to acquire as they can use it for life.

All of them are proud of their culinary accomplishments and it boosts their confidence even more when parents and grandparents praise their dishes.

I have taught kids to measure accurately but I can never measure the lessons I have learned from them, especially when they seem to be faced with so many obstacles at such a young age.

The student I admire the most is a 12-year-old with dwarfism, who refused to be seated with the 5-year-olds, who were her size, and insisted on working alongside kids her age, who were bigger. She may have been petite but her confidence and poise (even her spot-on fashion sense) made her nothing less than a giant in our eyes.

Tiny Kitchen (tels. 4102279, 0917-5393940) is at 31 Scout Tobias, Quezon City. It runs classes for kids all summer long. E-mail tiny_planet@hotmail.com.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: cooking , Learning , tiny kitchen




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  3. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  4. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  5. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  6. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  7. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  8. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  9. Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  10. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Intrigues mar signing of Bangsamoro draft law
  • Singson apologizes for delay in Edsa road repairs
  • Congressmen seek end to small-town lottery operations
  • 16-year-old survives in wheel well of US flight
  • MMDA to blame for delay of Edsa reblocking – DPWH exec
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Business

  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement