Cooking up fun at Children's Museum

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Seven-year-old Cody Odiorne took full advantage of the cooking class where he learned to make rice bowls, tacos, pasta bowls and wraps.

"I put rice, some more rice, meat, chicken, more meat, peppers, lettuce, noodles and then the sauce," he said. "I'm still not all the way done. I'm a big eater."

Cody is one of 20 students from ages 3 to 13 who are learning to cook in the Cooking is for Kids class every Tuesday at the Children's Museum of Western Nevada.

Tonjala Mack, a Sous-Chef at the Remedies Restaurant in the Washoe Professional Center, teaches the class designed to help latch-key kids prepare meals.

"When they come home, they can take the stuff they find in the refrigerator, put it in the microwave and have a snack," Mack said. "It teaches them to be creative."

The class lasts for six weeks and covers how to make breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Paige Rayburn, 7, liked the class on breakfast foods.

"You can make animals like mice out of peaches, nuts and whip cream," she said.

The class has an equal balance of boys and girls. Connor Murphy, 11, explained why boys should also learn to cook.

"Maybe when they grow up, they'll have to cook for themselves or maybe they'll have a family to cook for," he said. "Maybe they'll have a party and they'll have to cook for it."

And he likes it.

"It's a great class," Connor said. "I look forward to coming here because it's really fun and you can eat a lot of stuff, too. Plus, we have a nice chef teaching us."

Polly Robledo enrolled her 5-year-old son, Steven, in the previous class and was anxious for him to participate again.

"It gives them creativity," she said. "They learn about sanitation and safety with knives. They also get to taste something different."

Ashley Young, 11, took the class to prepare for the future.

"When you're older, you have to really learn," she said. "When you have kids, you can cook for them and teach them to cook."

Heidi Flansberg, 11, took the class for pure enjoyment.

"I love to cook," she said. "It's just been one of my favorite things. I love mixing things together."

Mack travels to Carson City from Reno every week to teach the class for free as part of the Chef and Child program through the American Culinary Federation.

All of the food used in the class is donated from various organizations including Bonanza Produce and the United Dairy Council.


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