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Kids compete this Friday to be Idaho Falls’ top junior chef


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Kids’ Cooking Academy students making fresh pasta. | Mike Price,

IDAHO FALLS — This Friday, 20 kids will compete to find out which one is the top junior chef at the College of Eastern Idaho’s Kids’ Cooking Academy.

CEI hosts several weeklong kids summer camps through June and July. This week is the Kids’ Cooking Academy taught by chef Blake Avery. The camp is for ages 10 through 14, and after learning basic culinary skills, the 20 kids will compete in front of a panel of judges to be the top junior chef.

“We’ve pulled the kids together to learn just basic culinary skills throughout the whole week,” Avery said.

Starting Monday, the kids learned kitchen and food safety and practiced basic knife skills. On Tuesday, they learned about spices, stocks and sauces. They practiced identifying different spices and made chicken stock and roux. By the end, they made veloutè and bechamel sauces.

Wednesday was pasta day, where the kids learned the different kinds of pasta. They made their own fresh pasta with marinara and Alfredo sauces.

“I’m making a special recipe because I need egg replacer because of my allergies,” 12-year-old Brighton said.

Brighton said he’s enjoying the camp and is looking forward to the competition on Friday.

Avery said Thursday is protein day, where the kids learn how to fry, braise, roast and grill meats. By the end of the day, kids make a medium-well steak and chicken Dijon.

And during the competition Friday, Avery said, the kids get to choose what they each want to make.

Although the Kids’ Cooking Academy summer camp is coming to a close, CEI has two more upcoming summer camps. These ones are all about science.

July 8 through 12 and July 15 through 19 are the last two STEM Summer Fun CEI summer camps. These camps have classes designed for kids ranging between the ages of 6 and 12.

Classes include everything from “STEM with Legos” to “Superhero Science” to “Surviving Mother Nature’s Mysteries.”

To find out more about the summer camps go to CEI’s Workforce Training & Continuing Education webpage.