Williams-Sonoma is known for their high quality products and cooking tools, but did you know that they also offer cooking classes for kids? We attended a very popular Junior Chef Class on Saturday morning about making ice cream. We attended the Tysons Galleria location because the store is spacious and we heard the teacher is excellent with children. We were not disappointed.
Walking into the store when it opened at 10 am, the entire front cooking area was set up ahead of time. The children all ran in and stood by the counter waiting for instructions. Our teacher came out and had us chant an ice cream song! She asked the children to stand in different locations based on their height. She then handed out ice cream cones and scoops of handmade ice cream to each child while they listened to instructions.
Tracy gave every child an opportunity to do something. She started off by having every child wash their hands with soap and water and put on rubber gloves. Next, they began to make whipped cream. She had each child smell the vanilla paste, pour the cream into the bowl, asked questions about the sugar and taught the techniques needed to whisk the cream into an ice cream topping. Most parents stayed with their children and I found that I learned some new techniques for my own kitchen.
When we were done making whipped cream, she brought out some new ice cream freezer bowls being offered for sale in the store. The children used these to mix the ice cream. Every child had a turn as these bowls were passed around. She was also making ganache and teaching the children about the consistency of chocolate.
Tracy was also using an ice cream maker behind the counter to make some fresh gelato while we worked on our bowls. Samples were offered for everything. At the end of the class, each child made an ice cream sundae with many toppings on sale in the store. Tracy kept this very controlled and there was absolutely no chaos.
There were no sales pitches but all the products used were available for purchase. It was wonderful to see the products actually in use and understand how to use them. I appreciated seeing and tasting all the various (unusual!) ice cream toppings, cookie dough balls, cocoa powders, ice cream starters and vanilla from the store shelves.
Our class lasted an hour and really went by fast. It was ideal for the 5 to 12 age range but there were two teenagers and a few preschoolers in the mix.
Every Saturday at 10 am all the local Williams-Sonoma stores offer these free classes. To find out the upcoming topics in class, check out www.williams-sonoma.com and click on “classes and events.” You must call the store to register in advance. These classes are very popular with many regular attendees and fill up fast. Our particular class was very full at 14 and registration was closed. The manager even called to confirm our attendance.
TIP: If you attend a class, you get a discount on your purchases that day in the store.
Photos by Andrea Verwys.