In cooking classes at One&Only Palmilla, kids learn about local culture through the cuisine. // © 2015 One&Only Palmilla
Cooking is the new cool. Just take a look at the television show “MasterChef Junior,” Gordon Ramsay’s “MasterChef” spinoff that pits young chefs against one another. Cooking has captured kids’ imaginations, and it’s now possible for budding chefs to hone their skills during a family vacation at a Mexican resort, as an increasing number of properties offer cooking classes for children.
Los Cabos really performs when it comes to accommodating young chefs.
At Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, kids learn how to prepare ceviche, tortilla soup and churros. One&Only Palmilla has two classes for children: pizza-making and sushi preparation. The resort is flexible about scheduling a class — all it needs is 24-hour notice. At The Resort at Pedregal’s restaurant Don Manuel’s, there are cooking classes with a focus on teaching kids how to prepare tortillas a mano, flautas, quesadillas and churros.
Some Los Cabos resorts are more geared to a sweet tooth. At Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, kids dress up in pint-size chef uniforms and are released into the kitchen for a two-hour class on how to bake cupcakes from scratch, under a chef’s direction. Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos has its own Cupcake Cafe and a DIY Cupcake Decorating Workshop. The cupcakes are prebaked, but there’s a selection of frostings, toppings and sprinkles to inspire children to unleash their inner decorator.
Viceroy Zihuatanejo has cooking classes that invite the whole family to join in. It adds a fun twist to the cooking experience that begins with accompanying head chef Paco Isordia to the town’s central market for the day’s ingredients.
When the shopping is finished, the group convenes at wood-burning grills set up on the beach in front of the resort, where under the direction of the chef they prepare fresh ceviche and salsas, plus meats and fish for the grill. The family then sits down to a meal at a table, with their toes in the sand and looking out on the Pacific.
The class takes two hours and is limited to a minimum of two people and a maximum of six.
Hotel California in Todos Santos has a cooking program in place that can accommodate children through special request. Not only will the group of two to six kids learn how to make basic Mexican dishes, they’ll also receive instruction from the restaurant’s executive chef on safe knife skills and how to act like a professional in the kitchen.
Afterward, the young gourmands sit down to enjoy their meal — with an invite extended to their parents, who can also attend the class if they wish.
By special request, cooking classes for children can be arranged at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun’s Culinary Center. Kids have a choice between preparing Mexican dishes or international cuisine. Once they are finished, young guests can have their parents sit down and partake in their creations.
The Little Eko Chefs program at Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma takes its cooking program to the next level. “MasterChef Junior” season one winner Alexander Weiss has even led classes here.
The program is available every weekday in the resort’s Eko Kids Club and encompasses Mexican culture and history, responsible eco-practices and, of course, hands-on cooking. There is a range of classes, including the history of chocolate, tamale-making, a sushi class, Mexican tortilla-making and artisanal ice-cream-making. Some classes also include a visit to the resort’s on-site greenhouse, where children can pick produce to use in their dishes.
As far as pricing and fees go for kids’ cooking classes, some resorts include them as part of the children’s club program, while other resorts charge an additional fee. If parents want to join in, they should determine in advance if a cooking course welcomes their participation, or if it’s a kids-only experience.