Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Website Spotlight: Rookie Chefs

I recently had the chance to do an interview with Vanessa Retter of Rookie Brands, which makes kid-friendly products to encourage kids in the kitchen.

What was the inspiration behind Rookie Chef?

In December 2014, my daughter had friends over to make Christmas cookies. The mess quickly turned into a disaster and it was no longer fun. The counter top was simply too tall for them to be functional. We moved the bowl down to a chair to make it easier. This is when the lightbulb went off. I started searching the internet or a kitchen cart for kids. I couldn’t believe it didn’t exist already. It seems so obvious. I asked my hubby to make one for our daughter for Christmas, it was done in April. (insert eye roll) We quickly realized she also needed her own tools/accessories to make it her own. There was born Rookie Chef. 

Why is it important to get kids in the kitchen early?
I’ve seen so many transformations in the past 12 months in my daughter. After school she heads home and instead of a snack of chips or cookies, she goes to the produce drawer to “Make” something. Her whole outlook on food has changed. She pays attention to how long produce lasts, she makes sure our dinner recipes include older produce to avoid wasting food. She wanted her own garden to use her own herbs. At 9 years old I couldn’t have asked for a better, healthier eater. BUT none of this started until she had her Rookie Chef Island Cart. This inspired something new in her. I couldn’t have convinced her it’s more fun to eat healthy until she realized it for herself. 

What are some important safety tips for parents to consider?
Rookie Chef accessories are sharp. They will cut skin. It’s important to embrace the teaching opportunities. We’ve learned by trial and error, the best ways to use the Rookie Chef accessories, do the same. Experiment. We’ve learned it best to SLAM down the Slicer-Dicer when chopping something. It won’t break but the kids need to use that force to get it to work. I have sliced part of my finger while demonstrating what NOT to do. I do not recommend this method of teaching. No need to cut yourself to show that it will cut. We do have a set of non-puncture gloves in development so they may be a necessity for the younger Rookie Chefs. 

What are some characteristics of young chefs?
If you have a child that wants to be doing whatever you are doing, that is the sign of a Rookie Chef. Your child does not need to be interested in cooking to love Rookie Chef, they simply need to be active. If they like to DO things, this is the right daily activity for them. Speaking of Daily…you’ll find that they want to make something when it’s not time to make something. When my daughter has friends over, they want to use the cart and accessories. We have them chop veggies and freeze them for future use. If your child says, “I’m bored”….Rookie Chef is right for them. If they help in the kitchen at all….this is right for them. I’ve never encountered a kid that when they saw the cart, didn’t immediately want to make something. It has that affect on them.

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