L Plates Cooking Class: Learn how to cook with Adelaide’s best chef Duncan Welgemoed during Tasting Australia
There are no machetes in the kitchen when Duncan Welgemoed’s kids are around.
The formidable chef, photographed over the years with tattooed arms crossed and branding the likes of a blowtorch or knives, softens when in the company of his sons, Maxwell, nine, and Alexander, six.
Except for when it counts.
“If they’re holding a knife badly or playing around near the heat or not concentrating … I’m a little bit strict,” says Welgemoed, of the lauded Africola restaurant in Adelaide.
The Welgemoed boys cook together regularly – Max even cooks a meal for the family by himself, once a week.
“Pizza, burgers, tacos … simple stuff really,” says the 10-year-old when asked for his signature dishes.
“Sometimes it does get a bit complex.”
The boys eat everything, says Welgemoed – “except mushrooms”.
Now, the chef and father-of-two is going to share his kid-friendly recipes and tips at The Advertiser, delicious. SA and TAFE SA’s L Plate’s cooking series as part of Tasting Australia.
L Plates is an opportunity to learn from some of South Australia’s best-known chefs and cooks, including Welgemoed, Karena Armstrong (The Salopian Inn) and 2018 MasterChef Australia winner Sashi Cheliah (Gaja by Sashi).
The hands-on, three-hour classes are conducted in small groups of up to 16, so participants can work closely with their mentor – and take some of their tasty work home.
For his Kids in the Kitchen class, Welgemoed is inviting parents to bring along their budding young chef, between the ages of 6-13.
He’ll demonstrate three veg-centric dishes that he guarantees kids will love.
Only child-safe knives are allowed (or parents can do the cutting).
Welgemoed says cooking with kids is valuable on many levels.
“It teaches them about nutrition, allows them to be creative, gives them confidence and helps them develop their palates, which is really important,” he says.
“It also gets them interested in gardening and agriculture, which is the centre of life, in my opinion.
“And the social aspect of sitting down together and eating as a family is important.”
It’s never too early to start. Even at the age of six, Alex “loves chopping, peeling and crushing the garlic” says Welgemoed.
“Then he loses concentration and wants to do what Max is doing.”
Alex adds: “My favourite thing to do would probably be making pasta.”
Who could argue with that?
DUNCAN’S TIPS FOR COOKING WITH KIDS
1. Buy kids’ knives with finger protectors and a hole for their finger to get them doing some of the prep.
2. Invest in a kids’ cookbook – then get the kids shopping for a meal they’ll be cooking for the family.
3. Get them cooking once a week. When they prepare ingredients they wouldn’t normally eat at the dinner table, it gets them interested.
L Plates cooking classes are $85, Saturday, March 28, TAFE Regency International Centre, visit tastingaustralia.com.au to purchase.
Originally published as Chef gets kids in the kitchen