It’s a wrap: Getting kids excited about food for Food Revolution Day 2014

FoodRevolutionThis year’s Food Revolution Day came and went in what seemed like the blink of an eye. After months of anticipation, at one point on Friday morning as I led my Grade 4 and 5 classes through Jamie Oliver’s live-streamed lesson, I had a brief moment of “It’s really happening” and then had to get back to keeping a watchful eye on 45 kids under 12 wielding box graters!

My activities for Food Revolution Day this year were two Food Revolution-themed classes with my regular cooking club boys, taking part in Jamie Oliver’s live lesson, streamed online on the morning of Food Revolution Day with 45 of my own students where we would make the rainbow wraps “with Jamie” and a parent-child class in the evening of the Day where we would make a soup, the wraps and four different kinds of smoothies – all official Food Revolution Day recipes.  Let’s just say there were a lot of box graters involved!

They say never work with kids or animals on TV. Well I say “never rely on technology when you’re working with kids”. It’s my rule of thumb everyday in the classroom that I should have  backup plan in case my technology fails and that was the one thing I was concerned about for my first Food Revolution Day activity on Friday morning (apart from little people grating their fingers) – would the technology work?  With SO many people watching (nearly 10 000 schools at last count and who knows how many other people besides that) I was worried the live stream might keep stopping – and I know what kids are like when technology fails (fortunately I think I could have taught the class by myself but it wouldn’t have been the same!).  We started a bit late due to some scheduling issues and the stream was a little glitchy but after some initial stalling, we were well on our way. The boys seemed pretty keen and excited to be cooking “with Jamie” (though they were disappointed that he wasn’t there in person!) and they were particularly keen to start cooking – waiting kinda sorta patiently to hear “Boys and Girls around the world, let’s get cooking”!

Kids making Jamie Oliver rainbow wraps FRD2014 on eatlivetravelwrite.comRainbow wrap assembly on eatlivetravelwrite.comRainbow wrap rolling on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids grating veggies for Jamie Oliver rainbow wrap on eatlivetravelwrite.comI have to say, even though I thought I was SO organised and had thought of everything, the MESS that this made was quite something! I wonder if everyone else around the world spent an hour cleaning the work stations and another hour washing box graters?! 😉  Totally worth it though- what a GREAT activity – teaching kids useful skills as well as giving them the chance to taste something different.

I don’t know I would have chosen beetroot as the main ingredient myself – it’s quite a strong taste and I heard more than once that it “smelled and tasted like dirt”. Yep, it kind of does!  In any case, I was thrilled to see boys trying – even a couple of bites (we used 6″ tortillas so they didn’t make huge servings) – and I love that they learned you can grate a whole bunch of vegetables, have a lot of fun and produce a great meal in about 30 minutes 🙂 Had this been a real lesson (it was part of our New Boys’ Day celebrations so timing was tight!) I would have chatted with them about different fillings they could grate for this wrap if they didn’t like beetroot. When I send the recipes to the parents I’ll mention this – it’s most definitely a fun activity for kids in the kitchen! With thanks to Steve, Catherine, Anna, Emilie, Brian, Jay, Drew and Jennifer for your support and help on Friday (and always!).

After cleaning up as best we could (that’s a LOT of box graters to wash!), we bid farewell to the boys and I headed to Sobeys to shop for my  class that evening at Nella Cucina.  As in previous years (2012 and 2013), I hosted a parent-child class where most of the work was done by the kids but where the parents got to see how getting kids in the kitchen doesn’t need to be complicated and how preparing a healthy meal with your kids can be fun! I was so lucky to have the beautiful space at Nella Cucina donated, Sobeys as my grocery sponsor, Harper Collins Canada as a book sponsor (everyone got a copy of Save with Jamie!), the amazing Mary-Catherine Anderson (and her whole family!) as my co-teacher on Friday and a visit from fellow Toronto Food Revolution Ambassador Carol Harrison. It made for a really well-organised event – and we even ran on time!

Food Revolution Day swag bags on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’d chosen to make the wraps, a soup and all four of the smoothies – in part to support Jamie’s recipe choices for the Day but also because I think these recipes all showcase some important kitchen techniques and are recipes that can be adapted according to tastes and/ or what’s on hand.  Teach a child a basic technique (soup, smoothie, wrap) and you open the door to a whole lot of different possibilities!

We started out making the soup…

Kids chopping veggies for Jamie Oliver garden glut soup on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd everyone brought their chopped veggies to the big pot for cooking…

Chopped veggies for Jamie Oliver garden glut soup on was the face Ben made when I asked him to smile! As a child who would open her mouth very wide when I was asked to smile, I relate! In any case the boys were VERY proud of their fab chopping!)

Mary Catherine got to cooking the soup…

Garden glut soup in progress on eatlivetravelwrite.comA few people thought I was crazy for making a GREEN soup with kids and expecting them to eat it but it was the surprise hit of the night…

Kids enjoying Jamie Oliver garden glut soup on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids eating Jamie Oliver garden glut soup on eatlivetravelwrite.comLoved the garden glut soup from Jamie Oliver on eatlivetravelwrite.comWe made the wraps with Jamie following along a pre-recorded version of the lesson…

Using the box grater for Jamie Oliver rainbow wraps on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids grating carrots on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids at Nella Cucina for Food Revolution Day 2014 on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids grating vegetables for Jamie Oliver rainbow wraps on eatlivetravelwrite.comWe all had a lot of fun making the “jam jar” dressing too…

Making Jamie Oliver jam jar dressing on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd the result?

Living the rainbow wraps on Enjoying rainbow wraps on Food Revolution Day on Thumbs up for rainbow wraps on eatlivetravelwrite.comThese kids loved these wraps! Lots of happy faces all round!

And the smoothies?

Kids drinking Jamie Oliver super smoothies on eatlivetravelwrite.comEnjoying orange smoothie on Food Reovlution Day on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnother HUGE hit.

The favourite? The green smoothie. That would be bananas, spinach and apple juice with a dash of lime. Who would have thought?

As we wrapped up (pun intended and on time! – it must be all that practice I have working with the boys in an hour that helps when it comes to keeping to a schedule in the kitchen with kids!), I looked around the kitchen space (which was lovely and clean thanks to AJ, Calan and Hamish) and paused for just a second. Wow. THAT’S what it’s all about. Happy, engaged kids. Happy parents. Full tummies (full of goodness). THAT’S how you get kids excited about food. Thanks Jamie for the inspiration. Thank you to the team at Sobeys, Harper Collins Canada and, of course Nella Cucina, for making this event possible. Thank you Mary Catherine, AJ, Calan and Hamish for being indispensable in the kitchen. All of your generosity was so very appreciated. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Get the recipe for Jamie Oliver’s garden glut soup, the Rainbow Wraps and four different kinds of Super Smoothies – and all the other official Food Revolution Day recipes.

You might also like some recent articles I’ve written about cooking with kids:

Getting kids excited about food for Food Revolution Day and beyond on
Why I cook with kids on GustoTV
How to choose a recipe to cook with kids on GustoTV
Tips for cooking with kids on Philly Canada


Canadians: Win a KitchenAid® 9-Speed Architect Hand Mixer and one copy of At Home with Lynn Crawford. Closes TODAY Monday May 19th 2014 at 6pm EST. Details here.


19 thoughts on “It’s a wrap: Getting kids excited about food for Food Revolution Day 2014”

  1. Love this! “Getting kids in the kitchen doesn’t need to be complicated and how preparing a healthy meal with your kids can be fun!”

    That’s what it’s all about!

    We all crave quality time with our kids and cooking delivers that and so much more.

    Beautiful post. I just love to see kids get excited about food.

    Yes, we had one heck of mess after making the Rainbow Salad Wraps at our local school too and boy it was worth it!


  2. This is such an inspirational endeavor by Jamie Oliver and you are such an inspiration for being so involved in it yourself. You are one hands-on, motivational teacher both in the classroom, your lab kitchen and elsewhere. Those you inspire and teach today will no doubt inspire and teach many in the years to come. Continued success with your work Mardi.
    I hope that after your whirlwind week that you were able to relax and enjoy a much deserved respite over the long weekend.

  3. What an absolutely FANTASTIC day. HUGE CONGRATS on achieving such an ambitious schedule – all fingertips intact, no less. 🙂

  4. Our almost 3 year old loved the class and so did we. Tomorrow we replicate the garden glut soup, which we all thoroughly enjoyed! Thanks for the new recipes and for motivating us to cook more with our little one!!

  5. Thanks Mardi so much for an wonder meal it was a great learning experience for the kids and so much fun. Ben really enjoyed making everything. He really wanted to be involved in every step and was so proud of himself.

  6. Thank you Mardi for a wonderful family outing. We had a great time and my 7 year old LOVED the green soup and green smoothie. The Sobey’s hat and apron was a big hit with our 4 year old, and I have enjoyed a wonderful sunny Victoria Day reading Jamie’s new cookbook and planning the menu for next week. Cheers!

  7. The mind boggles at the mere mention of tiny fingers and box graters.
    Every appendage intact; full bellies and fun day.
    What’s not to like?
    Great day, Mardi. Well done.

  8. Great job Mardi. As usual, you have done a wonderful job with your Kids. Sorry I wasn’t there to

    help clean up. As you know, I’m used to cleaning up messes like that!

  9. Thanks Mardi for another great parents/kids cooking class. Aidan loves being able to do everything and feel proud of his work. The recipes were excellent and we will definitely be trying them again at home!


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