Food & Cooking

Virtual Cooking fun for children during COVID

Children during cooking class

Virtual Cooking Brings Fun into the Kitchen for Kids During Covid 

Jes M. of Bergen County has been home with her kids since the shutdown in March 2020. At first, her children, ages 4, 5, and 8, completed their coursework virtually up until the end of the term in June of that year. But when news arrived that schools would not open again in September for in-person instruction, Jes decided to homeschool her three children for the 2020/2021 school year. In addition to managing several different curriculums at once and stepping into the shoes of a primary school teacher, Jes has sought new ways of providing COVID-friendly recreation outside of school hours; recently, she and her children tried a Virtual Cooking class led by staff from Bambino Chef in Jersey City.  

 Bambino Chef is a cooking school for children and teens owned and founded by Rene Gonzalez, A chef, nutritionist, and mother, Gonzalez uses her personal life and interests to create a fun and educational environment where kids learn about delicious and nutritious cooking and eating. Bambino Chef offers in-house classes, holiday break and summer camps, as well as options for birthday parties and field trips. Sessions are grouped by age, starting at 4 years, so that kids can learn in a safe environment matched to their abilities. Recipes can be savory or sweet, and in the past have included everything from empanadas and veggie and rice stuffed peppers to oatmeal raisin cookies and scones.  

 To offer a Covid-friendly learning environment, Gonzalez teaches virtual cooking classes via Zoom. Parents are emailed a list of ingredients beforehand and classes are kept to a manageable size. All instruction is given by Bambino staff, and student audio is kept on mute except when children raise their hands to ask a question. For younger kids, parents are required to lend a helping hand and some supervision.   

Children during cooking class
Children during cooking class

 In this particular class, Rene Gonzalez taught the group a simple recipe for sweet and buttery pound cake. Jes’ three children learned how to measure flour and sugar in half and full cups, in addition to cracking eggs and mixing more solid ingredients like cream cheese and butter. The recipe experience was a dynamic activity as each step promoted constant participation and engagement. Most importantly, according to Jes, the whole family was a big fan of the final result: “My kids said it was the best cake they’ve ever had—it tasted like a sugar cookie! It was definitely a super kid-friendly flavor and dessert.”  

Jes was also impressed by how Rene interacted with her students: “I felt like she did a really good job engaging the kids. It was very multi-sensory; not only were they touching the [ingredients] but she was engaging with the children too. While my kids measured, stirred, and poured, chef Rene was asking them to signal with their hands when they were ready for the next step or asking them to count or sing their ABCs as they mixed the batter.” Rene’s dynamic personality is reflected in the Bambino Chef kitchen as well. Shelves are filled with colorful mixing bowls and an array of eye-catching ingredients neatly stored in rows. The walls are painted bright yellow and decorated with bold lettered signs. Even Bambino chefs themselves wear neon green uniforms to match the fun decor.  

 After the cooking class ended, Jes explained that this type of activity is the perfect way to provide hands-on, real-world enrichment, especially for homeschool or virtual learning classes. “Each one of my kids has their own curriculum to follow for math, reading, language arts, and handwriting but we try to do some activities together. We do read-alouds, trips to the Botanical Gardens—things where each of my kids can learn. Something like a virtual cooking class is awesome because it challenges kids, teaches them how to ask questions, and inspires real learning whereas a workbook just reinforces learning. And the benefit of working from home or teaching from home is that we can do something fun like cook together with our kids.  Bambino takes something simple like that and makes it even more interactive for the family, and it gives parents a nice rest from formal curriculum.”  

 Bambino Chef is located at 213 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. For more information on Bambino Chef’s virtual and in-person classes, camps, and party options, visit their website or check out their social media @bambinochef.  


Child posing with the food she made
Student posing with the food she made



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