Jr. Chef Central Culinary Programs For Kids and Young Adults

Culinary Programs for Kids and Young Adults

Jr. Chef Central has reached thousands of kids in the Sacramento Region.  Our classes, camps and school programs are designed to inspire the love of cooking and expose young chefs age 10 - 15 to a variety of culinary techniques, foster an appreciation of cooking at home, and encourage independence and creativity in the kitchen. 

Summer Camps

Jr. Chef Culinary Programs are open to young people age 10 - 15. We focus on local ingredients and seasonal menus. Monday thru Thursday mornings, kids prepare a 3 - 4 course meal they eat for lunch, and the afternoons are spent playing food and nutrition related games. Basic Camp Friday’s will be our "Open House Party", and Jr. Chef's will entertain their guests with what they've made and learned throughout the week. Teamwork is essential to our philosophy so Jr. Chef’s will complete their daily tasks in teams of 4. Everything is provided, from aprons to cutting boards!

Basic Camp

The place to start. This is where they learn the basics: knife safety, kitchen sanitation, menu reading and preparation, nutrition facts & fiction, label reading, shopping on a budget, table settings, dining etiquette and more!
Each day is a different session in which we give kids the basic skills they need to cook safely and enjoy it! Our focus on building kitchen confidence helps kids feel comfortable with cooking. The program covers these key concepts:

  • Knife Skills & Kitchen Safety: How do I hold this knife and what’s the button on the stove for? We teach knife skills for safety, precision & technique, and kitchen safety & sanitation.

  • Seasonal Meal Preparation: Where does all this food come from? We taste, smell & cook with a wide range of ingredients focusing on what's in season, and we'll take a field trip to a Certified California Farmer’s Market.

  • Flavor: What will it taste like with a squeeze of lemon? Kids expand their taste buds and gain confidence in using different herbs, spices & seasonings. Kids are more likely to try what they have had a hand in preparing!

  • Cooking Techniques: Hmm, what can be done with these potatoes? We learn how an ingredient tastes depending on whether it’s roasted, fried or sautéed.

  • The Big Picture: What is that glass for? Nutrition, table settings, dining etiquette & table manners to round-out the cooking & dining experience are taught as well.

Mornings in Basic Camp (excluding the morning we go to the Farmer's Market) are spent in the kitchen preparing 3 - 4 courses which they eat for lunch. On the day of the Farmer's Market field trip the Jr. Chef's will have a shorter time in the kitchen and will prepare things they gathered at the market for lunch.

Monday through Thursday afternoons are spent in activities and games related to food, nutrition and etiquette. One of the favorite games is Food Jeopardy!

Friday is an Open House Party! Jr. Chef's prepare dishes they've made throughout the week to share with their guests as well as highlights from things they've learned all week. Two guests are included with each tuition. Open House will be from 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM.

Basic Camp can be repeated from summer to summer. Each year is a new menu.

Camp Hours:

Monday - Thursday 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Friday 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM

2019 Camp Location:

Florin High School

7956 Cottonwood Lane

Sacramento, CA 95828

Advanced Camp

Registration for Advanced Camp is by invitation only.

Participants must complete Basic Camp. After completion of Basic Camp, students are evaluated by our Jr. Chef Instructor. Students must demonstrate mastery of the skills learned in the basic program, including teamwork.

To be ready for the Advance session, your Jr. Chef should be cooking regularly since their last camp session. This would mean at least once a week, and on their own. It's important that they've kept up the skills they learned as the Advance session assumes they have mastered what they already learned. On the first day, they will butcher a chicken - so their knife skills need to be solid. They will do advance pastry making, so they need to be confident with their measuring capabilities, etc. Each team will be making 3 - 4 dishes each day that focus on technique. They must be comfortable with their communication skills and ability to both take and give direction. If they have not been cooking regularly, we recommend they take the Basic again to refresh their skills. If they register for the Advance and are unable to keep up, they won't enjoy the experience.

The Advanced Camp schedule is similar to Basic Camp. Mornings are spent in the kitchen preparing 3 - 4 courses which they eat for lunch and the afternoons are spent playing games and activities that encompass food, nutrition, etiquette and dining service. In addition to honing the concepts they learned in Basic Camp students will be introduced to:

  • Butchering a chicken

  • Pastry Making techniques

  • Food Styling techniques

  • A Field trip to a working farm

The Friday of our 5 day Advanced Camp is reserved for our Jr. Chef Cafe 'set menu' luncheon prepared and served by our Jr. Chef's. Participants will have the ability to invite 2 guests to our 'set menu' luncheon served from 12:30 - 1:30. Two guest lunches are included in camp tuition. Additional guest lunches may be purchased based on availability, during the week of camp, through our Camp Director for $15.00 each. The menu will be provided on the Monday of camp.

Advanced Camp can be repeated from summer to summer. Each year we create a new menu.

Camp Hours:

Monday - Thursday 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Friday 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM

2019 Camp Location:

Florin High School

7956 Cottonwood Ln

Sacramento, CA 95828