FUN learning at KidZania takes the food route with the introduction of four new cooking activities, under its KidZ vs Food programme.
The programme, from Saturday to Jan 1, aims to cultivate interest in food and cooking among children – and their parents – through exciting and interactive sessions.
“Cooking is one of the most important life skills, so we would like to use it as a platform to teach,” said KidZania Kuala Lumpur Mayor Shahrul Nizar Ahmad during the launch earlier this month.
Kidzania is an indoor activity centre for children.
Throughout the five-week programme, there will be pop-up kitchens, food science and food art sessions, as well as workshops conducted by five celebrity chefs.
Kids run the show at the pop-up kitchen where they will handle all preparations, from start to finish. Here, they will learn simple and quick recipes they can replicate at home, such as sushi, tuna and corn frittata, and fruity mini cones.
The food science session explores the technical aspects of cooking, demonstrating how chemical reactions and conditions can create different tastes and textures.
Children and their parents can experiment as they make brick jelly, edible slime and rock candy.
They can let their creative juices flow during the food art sessions where they will make cookie art, chocolate candy and chocolate garnishing.
The highlight of the programme will be workshops by chefs Datuk Fazley Yaakob, actor, singer, host and winner of MasterChef Selebriti Malaysia (Season One); Samantha Lee, international food artist; Brian Chen, owner of Young Chefs Academy, cookbook author and radio deejay; award-winning cookbook author Mohana Gill, and the inspiring seven-year-old Leah Choy known as Chef Leah.
Leah began baking when she was four to help raise funds for her sister Adele, who was diagnosed with microcephaly, a birth defect whereby the brain’s development is incomplete.
She sold cupcakes and other delights via her Facebook page. As at October, she had baked and decorated 13,500 cupcakes and raised close to RM40,000.
The centre will also host the Zuper Kitchen Challenge, a children’s cooking contest in which the top five finalists will get the opportunity to win prizes worth over RM5,000.
The KidZ vs Food programme is sponsored by Panasonic Cooking, Vitagen, Marigold, Sushi King, Lifebuoy, Beryl’s and Young Chefs Academy.
“We hope to change how kids look at food and cooking through the programme. We want them to discover the simple joys of cooking and build confidence from successfully completing various cooking tasks and challenges,” said Shahrul Nizar.
“We want parents to know that by involving children in the kitchen, you’re not just making food, you are teaching science in action.
“It is about laying down basic math, reading and time-telling skills; encouraging healthy food choices; building confidence and creativity; enhancing communication and deepening connections with your child,” he added.
Hiroyuki Muto, deputy managing director of Panasonic Malaysia said that the company was pleased to partner with the centre.
Working with children and getting them excited about food is a positive step towards developing an important life skill from young, he added.
“We pride ourselves on developing innovative products that will enrich the lives of Malaysian families.
“This extends to our kitchen appliances which are designed for safe and effective use that even children will be able to use them under supervision,” Muto added.
“Cooking with kids is wonderful because they are naturally curious and always keen to help out,” said Fazley during a cooking demonstration at the centre.
“When kids cook, they remember every step. They ask about every item and ingredient in the kitchen.
“It is important that you take the time to teach them. This is how we introduce nutritious food and eating habits to them,” added the father of three.
Brian said that the kitchen is an awesome place for a child because it makes them more aware of what goes into their food and (inadvertently) makes them healthier.
“Educate children about food and health and let them prepare their own food. Chances are, if they make it, they will also eat it,” he added.
To show that children have what it takes to cook, nine-year-old Eng Kelvy helped prepare Fazley’s “magic sauce” and Brian’s Shepherd’s Pie.
Her brother, Eng Gelson, 10, who was the emcee at the launch also assisted Fazley to make chicken fingers.
And when Fazley asked Gelson if he would try replicating this recipe at home, Gelson said: “Sure!”
For more information on the KidZ vs Food programme, visit www.kidzania.com.my.