I like to think that this goes hand in hand with being a creative cook, finding inspiration and just having fun! When it comes to having kids in the kitchen- it probably becomes a necessity to let your hair down ( being careful that it does not get caught in the electric beaters- yes this happened to me) and enjoy the experience. Of course, a little bit of organization or what we call, “Mise en place” which is a French culinary term for: “everything in its place” is important and young chefs love learning French culinary terminology and of course safety is a priority. However, tinkering in the kitchen is one of my favorite pastimes and it comes from the idea that making mistakes is o.k., and learning from those mistakes is even more o.k. The more you cook, the better you will be at reading a recipe, improvising and learning how to substitute with fresh and seasonal ingredients in any recipe. The more mistakes you make in the kitchen definitely correlates strongly with becoming a better cook! The added benefit is that your taste buds will really have fun experimenting with flavors that are new and different from your regular palette. I often have students- young and old that express to me that they have difficulty following a recipe. Truth: Some recipes are difficult to follow and there is an art to writing a good one. I would argue that that technique is superior to the recipe anyways and is ¾ of the art of becoming a good cook. Teaching kids how to tinker in the kitchen is extremely freeing, fun and delicious! I love when I see on a restaurant menu board: “deconstructed salad or deconstructed anything” The art of deconstruction is perhaps the essence of tinkering. We try something new by tasting pieces of it first. Understanding that those very same flavors that we just put in your mouth are the very pieces that combined give us the wow we want.