Culinary Arts at Camp

Written by: Tova Blasberg

Every year, Camp Interlaken takes an inventory of the chugim we offer, the skills that our staff have, and the trends in programming outside of Camp.  Usually, we introduce two or three new chugim (activities) to our choices after this evaluation. We were thrilled to offer a brand-new cooking chug this past summer, where campers embarked on a 45-minute per day cooking journey with Chef Andy from Liverpool. 

Andy, an incredible chef hailing from Liverpool, brought a contagious passion for food and a zest for teaching to the macheneh. His charisma quickly made cooking chug one of our most popular offerings this summer! His experience cooking in Michelin Star restaurants allowed him to teach a variety of recipes to our campers. From the basics of the perfect chocolate chip cookie to the intricacies of making a donut to a savory risotto and even fresh pasta, our campers walked away from this summer with a broad scope of skills and recipes. 

The enthusiasm among the campers was infectious. As they sliced, diced, and sauteed their way through the summer, friendships blossomed, and a sense of confidence flourished in the kitchen. The joy on their faces as they shared their creations with friends and counselors was a testament to the self confidence that comes from a culinary education.  We recently heard from a parent of a camper who participated, and she shared this with us: 

“My daughter helped prepare Shabbat dinner.  She sliced, she sauteed, and she baked!  I asked her how she knew how to hold a knife properly, and she shared that she learned in cooking chug at Camp. I was so impressed!”  

Our post-summer evaluation of 2023 told us that we needed to continue the culinary program into next summer.  Because we don’t currently have a teaching kitchen, this chug used the K’far Noar Bayit (house) as its program space.  We are hopeful that we can build a new kitchen for this chug and have it be ready for the summer of 2024.  We are just getting started on the plans, and we are excited for the chug to continue and for other cooking-related programs to use the space as well.  Get ready for an Iron Chef – Camp Edition!  We know that investing in a teaching kitchen will not only enhance the Camp experience but also equip campers with valuable life skills that extend far beyond the walls of the kitchen.

As we reflect on the success of this summer, our hearts are full of gratitude for Andy, whose expertise and enthusiasm brought our culinary arts program to life!  We are hopeful that Andy can return in future summers.  If he cannot, we will hire someone just as awesome who will continue to take our campers on a delicious journey.  There is nothing better than the laughter and joy of sharing a meal together.