The Step Stool Chef is empowering children to get into the kitchen! Mother Toria has been encouraging her little step stool chef to cook since he was two. This love for cooking has expanded to teaching other families that no child is too young to get passionate about food. We interviewed the Step Stool Chef and Sous Chef Mommy Toria about children in the kitchen, yummy recipes and empowering families to cook!
When did Toria realize that the Step Stool Chef was passionate about cooking?
He has been helping out in the kitchen since the age of 2. He loved everything from washing veggies to stirring ingredients in a bowl. While he loves cooking, he is most passionate about problem solving. For him, cooking is like solving a puzzle. When something doesn’t taste right or look right, he loves trying to figure out what can he add or do to make it better. It is very empowering for him.
How did you get the idea for the website?
On my son’s 3rd birthday, we were snowed in and his birthday celebration had been canceled. Fortunately we had the right ingredients in our pantry to make a homemade cake from scratch. My little chef insisted on making his own cake. So I pulled up a step stool for him to reach the counter, took pictures of his efforts and guided him along the way (http://www.stepstoolchef.com/tbt-the-chef-turns-3/). He was very proud of his accomplishment and so was I.
I wanted other parents and kids to experience the same pride and sense of accomplishment. The Step Stool Chef is dedicated to celebrating kids’ independence and leadership. We feature a “kids teaching kids” approach to cooking that features easy-to-follow recipes for kids to try at home. At the Step Stool Chef, the kids are the leaders and the parents are the assistants. We believe that with the right tools & support, kids can do anything!
When should parents allow their little ones to help in the kitchen?
As soon as they show interest and the parents are comfortable. The toddler years are a great window because they are the most curious and excited about being mommy’s little helper. Plus, it helps as you are introducing new foods into their diet as they are more likely to try foods they help prepare. My youngest daughter has been helping since she was 18 months old. She has helped dump ingredients bowls, stir ingredients and even helped to shuck corn.
What is the Step Stool Chef and Sous Chef Mommy’s favorite recipe?
The Step Stool Chef’s favorite recipe is the Vanilla Ice Cream Souffle (http://www.stepstoolchef.com/vanilla-ice-cream-souffle/). He loves this recipe because it was something that was 100% his idea. He came to me with the idea to do a soufflé and was very specific on how he wanted to do it. It was great to see his leadership skills get better and better as he wanted to challenge himself to do more of a “grown-up” dish.
My favorite dish is the Breakfast Muffins (http://www.stepstoolchef.com/breakfast-muffins/) because it is so simple for kids to do. Plus it is a great breakfast idea that you can make ahead of time then freeze for later. Perfect for breakfast on-the-go or during the morning rush before school. Just heat up and go.
Tell us about some of the products available for our readers on your website.
We feature cooking tools, products and cookbooks that make it easier for kids to be more independent in the kitchen. Here are some of our favorites:
1. A Step Stool (of course): Great for making sure that your little chef can reach the counter! (http://astore.amazon.com/thststch-20/detail/B00LNGJC68)
2. Spring Whisk – This little whisk has a fun up-and-down motions that makes it easy and fun to whip up your favorite dish (http://astore.amazon.com/thststch-20/detail/B0000CD0HG)
3. Slow Cooker – A perfect kids cooking hack as it requires little to no exposure to heat while making great dishes the whole family can enjoy (http://astore.amazon.com/thststch-20/detail/B005FSJ5Q2)
4. Fix it and Forget it Kids Cookbook – We love a great slow cooker recipe. My little chef has tried many recipes from this book. (http://astore.amazon.com/thststch-20/detail/156148704X)
5. Food Processor – Makes for easy chopping and grinding veggies, herbs and more! (http://astore.amazon.com/thststch-20/detail/B000YA8R6U)
What are some of the Step Stool Chef’s favorite ingredients to experiment with?
My little chef loves to experiment. His favorite to play with are various herbs and spices such as cilantro, oregano and cinnamon, as it helps bring out the taste in the foods he cooks. Experimenting is always my favorite part of cooking with my little chef. It promotes creative problem solving and decision making as well as builds an instinct for cooking.