Published on February 9, 2023 by Frank Ruggiero  
teen cooking class web

Fun is on the menu at Samford University’s Summer Cooking Camp for Teens, returning to campus June 26-30.

Hosted by the Samford Wellness Kitchen and intended for kids ages 11-16, this weeklong day camp sees young participants cook alongside registered dietitian-nutritionists to learn how to build delicious and nutritious plates for meals and snacks.

“Our camp is unique in that it is developed and led by registered dietitians, who are also trained chefs,” said Clara Darling, Samford Wellness Kitchen director and instructor. “So, not only are the recipes appetizing and fun, but they are also developed to highlight heathy ingredients and cooking techniques.”

The camp also showcases variations in cooking between different countries and regions, with previous camps having highlighted Mediterranean, Thai, Mexican, Cantonese, Italian, Costa Rican and Southern cuisines.

The camp also includes one plant-based day to demonstrate how to utilize plants for a healthy, balanced diet, while offering accommodations for students who are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or allergic.

“Having food restrictions doesn’t mean they can’t have fun in the kitchen!” Darling said.

In addition to strengthening their hands-on cooking skills, participants gain an introductory understanding of nutrition and healthy cooking techniques, variations in regional cuisines (with a focus on a different region each day), how to read and interpret recipes and how food is grown. Students will even have the opportunity to plant their own herbs and discuss sustainability.

The goal, Darling said, is to help develop a positive relationship with food and cooking.

“In our media-driven world, there is more focus than ever placed on food, cooking and health,” she said. “There is a lot of misguided information out there on food and nutrition, which often leads to a ‘negative’ relationship with food. There is a new ‘bad’ food or ‘good’ food labeled every week, and it causes consumers to be scared of one of our most basic and enjoyable needs: to eat.

“Our hope is that through this interactive culinary experience, participants view food and cooking as a fun and social way of fueling our bodies. Cooking your own food from scratch is an inherently healthy thing to do, as is sitting down for a meal with your peers. These are things that improve quality of life and should be enjoyed!

The Samford Cooking Camp for Teens will be held daily June 26-30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Samford Wellness Kitchen, located in the College of Health Sciences on the Samford University campus. The cost is $430, although those who register by March 1 will receive a $30 discount.

For more information and to register, visit here.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.