We’ve endured a wave of kid foodies and kid critics, but way more impressive than any of that are kids who actually cook (so long as their knife skills are carefully practiced). Joining the ongoing David Chang–supported Edible Schoolyard project at P.S. 216 in Brooklyn and Wellness in the Schools, a healthy eating and educational initiative supported by Bill Telepan and Shuna Lydon, is the Cooking Room project at P.S. 3 in the West Village. The program grew out of the numerous guest-chef appearances Zak Pelaccio has made at his son’s West Village elementary school.
Pelaccio is spearheading the project with the help of P.S. 3 staff, friends at the French Culinary Institute, a certified nutritionist, and a food studies professor at the New School. The K-5 program is devoted to "food literacy," encompassing subjects like math and science in addition to slicing and dicing. Students will learn to "create tasty food with real, fresh, non-processed ingredients," and will even help tend to the urban farm in Battery Park and grow their own ingredients. P.S. 3 has even set aside a dedicated "kitchen classroom" for the project, which is seeking the public’s support.
Though these programs are designed to increase basic food I.Q. and awareness of the supply chain, it’s entirely possible that the next generation of Fatty Crab–bers will emerge from this new wave of pint-size chefs. All we need now is for the city to launch its own K-12 pilot food safety and restaurant inspection program. That will guarantee some pretty interesting playground spats come next Spring.