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Laguna youth club brings world cuisine to the table

The Gibraltar Youth Service is once again running cooking classes for young people on the Rock.

Last week week the course was held every morning at the Laguna Youth Centre, which is temporarily based in Glacis estate, with a dozen children attending.

Over the course of the week they learnt how to cook a meal from five different countries.

They cooked torta patata from Spain, chicken korma from Indian, cottage pie from the UK, chicken stir-fry from China and fajitas from Mexico.

The cooking classes are the brainchild of youth support worker Sonia Bahadur-Bonet. Running the course at Laguna this week with Sonia was fellow youth support worker Martin Graffione.

Four of the children who are attending this week took part in the course last year. One child said that he helps out at home cooking all the time since he learnt how to chop last year. In addition, two of the participants attend the youth club on a regular basis where they cook once every two weeks on average.

“Some of them [the kids] are quite skilled in the kitchen,” said Mr Graffione.

“It’s very easy for us to see who has helped parents or guardians at home before and who hasn’t but is keen to learn,” he added.

The slots on the two separate week courses were ‘sold out’ rapidly with many children eager to learn the essential life skill. This pleased Mr Graffione as it gives the Youth Service a chance to work with children they would not normally be interacting with.

On the first day of the course the children learn about hygiene and its importance, which is reinforced throughout the week.

Before the children start to cook they learn a bit about the country where the cuisine they are cooking is from. They do this via games and arts and crafts, so it is interactive.
On the day the Chronicle visited, the children were cooking chicken stir-fry.

Assisting Martin and Sonia was fellow youth support workers Gianna and Katie, volunteer Annalouise and summer student Nicky.

Callea, 9, has enjoyed the week with the cottage pie being her favourite thing to cook. She proudly said that she made it for her mother and that she said it tasted just like Granny’s.

Yousra, 11, favourite food is any Indian food, she said, so she liked cooking the chicken korma the most this week. At home she doesn’t cook many main dishes and prefers baking.

Gabriella, 10, also enjoyed the chicken korma the most and said that it is a dish she cooks at home a lot. As is toffee crumble, a dish she makes with her Dad.

Amy, 9, said that the Chinese chicken stir fry has been her favourite dish this week, mainly because she enjoys all the different elements to the preparation of the food, including making the sauce from scratch.

Rebecca, 11, puts the cottage pie at the top of her list because she found it fun to make. At home, she likes to cook omelettes adding various ingredients such as ham and cheese.

Pic by James Astengo

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