Les Petits Chefs make ravioli at The Gallery Grill

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I don’t shy away from thinking big when it comes to cooking with kids.  We don’t use kids’ cookbooks and we don’t make “quick and easy” dishes all the time. In fact, most of the time 😉 And a lot of the time, Les Petits Chefs get into a right old mess. But we have fun, create, nibble and at the end of the day, leave the lab each week proud of what we’ve achieved. I got to talk about why it’s worth cooking with kids on Radio Canada earlier this week (interview in French if you care to listen!) and watching my students’ pride at what they have achieved is enough to help you overlook any mess and chaos that cooking with kids might entail 😉 I mean, hey, fun and learning isn’t all neat and clean, is it now?

Working with Chef Suzanne Baby at The Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comSomeone who understands that more than most (and who totally “gets me” in terms of what I am trying to achieve with the boys) is Chef Suzanne Baby of The Gallery Grill in Toronto.  Last year when we visited, the boys got to make choux pastry. Choux pastry! Hear that? Not only is is “meant to be hard” but it’s certainly not a recipe many people would think about tackling with 17 boys under the age of 12 in just over an hour…

I was pretty pleased when Suzanne was happy to have us back – especially considering the mess we left last time 😉 This term, Suzanne chose another fairly challenging recipe – ravioli stuffed with ricotta and quail’s eggs, topped with candied bacon. And yes, we were making the pasta dough from scratch!

We got started as soon as we arrived, with a couple of boys taking charge of the maple syrup and brown sugar mix for the candied bacon:

Kids making candied bacon on eatlivetravelwrite.comMeanwhile, Suzanne reminded the boys of the best way to measure flour (unless you’re weighing it, that is!) – scooping!

Learning how to measure flour on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe boys got busy mixing salt into their flour…

KIds sifting flour with their hands on eatlivetravelwrite.com(best mixed dry ingredients ever, by the way)

Then we got cracking. Some eggs that is…

KIds cracking eggs on eatlivetravelwrite.comKIds cracking eggs 2 on eatlivetravelwrite.comKIds cracking eggs 3 on eatlivetravelwrite.comBest. Fun. Ever.

Onto mixing the wet ingredients into the dry…

KIds mixing eggs into flour to make pasta dough on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids making pasta dough on eatlivetravelwrite.comKIds with pasta dough ball on eatlivetravelwrite.comMagic! Well, magic requiring a lot of muscle!

We wrapped those dough balls in plastic and set them aside. Pasta dough needs to rest before it’s used but luckily Chef had prepared rolled pasta sheets for all the boys to work with and the dough balls went home to be used later…  Suzanne demonstrated how it’s done…

Making ravioli filling on eatlivetravelwrite.com(yes, that’s a quail egg there!)

Filling ravioli on eatlivetravelwrite.comOk, so she made it look easy but really, it’s a complicated multi-step process that I was concerned we might not have enough time to complete. I need not have worried. Miss Carter and I stood by and watched, amazed as our guys just got down to work…

KIds filling ravioli on eatlivetravelwrite.comPressing ravioli filling flat on eatlivetravelwrite.comKIds topping ravioli fillings on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids cutting out ravioli shapes on eatlivetravelwrite.comand not that much later on – voilĂ !

Kids homemade ravioli on eatlivetravelwrite.com(some lucky mums got these for dinner!)

Some of the boys chose to save their raviolis (the ones without the egg yolks) for their families. Others wanted to try them there and then…

Boiling ravioli on eatlivetravelwrite.comBy the time the pasta was cooked, so was the candied bacon. The boys enjoyed the pasta topped with brown butter and chunks of the bacon.

Ravioli with quail egg and candied bacon on eatlivetravelwrite.comYou’ve never seen pasta being devoured like these plates were.

At least two boys went home and made pasta with their dough – I saw photo evidence of some gorgeous (and giant!) ravioli made by some very proud boys 🙂 Thank you Suzanne for taking the time out of your busy day to work with these boys and show then that something they absolutely love to eat is so much easier to make than they might have thought, not to mention fun! They are so very lucky.

We’ll be taking a break from Les Petits Chefs for the next couple weeks – it’s March Break – but we’ll be back with some VERY exciting plans in Term 3!


Canadian giveaway: Win a KitchenAid¼ 5-Speed Diamond Blender and one copy of Monica Shaw’s Smarter Fitter Smoothies! Closes Sunday, March 16th 6pm EST.

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