Jr. Master Chef Class Teaches Safety, Cooking

Jr. Master Chef Class Teaches Safety, Cooking

Some area youth are learning this week not only how to cook, but also when fresh produce is ready to pick for use in the kitchen.   The 12 to 15-year-old youth are enrolled in the Danville Area Community College Master Chef Class.

Dana Wheeler is a Culinary Arts Instructor at the college and is leading the class….

”These kids are interested in culinary. They’re interested in finding out where things come from and how they grow, and what you do with it,” said Wheeler. ”We bring them out to the DACC Land Lab and show them how different things grow. And then we’ll take (items) back to the kitchen and produce it in different ways so they can kind of see different variables of that,” added Wheeler.

Students check crops to see whether they are ready for harvest Tuesday.


The class was at DACC’s Sustainability Farm on Tuesday where part of the visit involved a lesson on bee-keeping and harvesting organic honey.  Wheeler says there is a variety of food being grown at the farm…

”They have potatoes. They’ve got all types of herbs. They’ve got tomatoes, and cucumbers, different squashes, corn, there’s strawberries, I mean they have a lot of different varieties.  So that way the kids get to see more. There’s blackberry bushes, gooseberry,” added Wheeler.

Wheeler instructs regular culinary classes at DACC, but she is glad to see young people learning about it this summer…

”I think it’s great that kids know that you can get food besides going to the drive-up, and that it’s much more nutritional. It tastes better. And these kids – some of them already know quite a bit because their parents have gardens and they’re learning from that.  So this is just an extension of what they’re learning at home,” added Wheeler during an interview with VermilionCountyFirst.com News.

While in the kitchen the course places a heavy emphasis on safety.  Later this week the teams are scheduled to create recipes using fresh ingredients that will be evaluated by some celebrity judges.