HISD food whiz Kellie Karavias

Turning the farmers market into a cooking class: How your kids can stick a fork in it

Turning the farmers market into a cooking class: How your kids can stick a fork in it

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Sister chefs Frances and Cate Moriniere display their farm tomatoes stuffed with bread crumbs, herbs, and cheese. Photo by Kellie Karavias
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Everyone gets to take home a colorful, kid-friendly copy of the day's recipe. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Kellie Karavias shows young chef Evan how to measure the butter. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Kellie Karavias, culinary arts educator at HISD and founder of the Stick a Fork in It classes Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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A proud chef holds up her finished product: Peach-berry crumble. Photo by Kellie Karavias
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It’s summer, and parents all over town have their eyes peeled for kid-friendly activities. Here’s a good one to try: Stick a Fork in It kids cooking classes with Kellie Karavias at the Highland Village farmers market on Sundays.

Before becoming HISD’s one and only Culinary Arts Educator, Karavias watched as obesity and health problems in school spiraled out of control. When there wasn’t a viable solution readily available, Karavias created one.

Over the past five years, she has designed and implemented “seed to plate” programs at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary and Eleanor Tinsley Elementary, won $30,000 in grants from Hidden Valley, strutted her stuff for HISD, appeared on the Cooking Channel and sealed school partnerships with Urban Harvest, Whole Foods and Recipe for Success.

 “Enthused kids move parents!" Karavias says. "They'll get them to try artichokes, drag them around the grocery store, and help out in the kitchen; they can move the whole family in a healthy direction.” 

Karavias believes that by teaching kids where their food comes from, instilling a respect for locally sourced products, and creating nutritious, delicious and affordable meals, we can train a generation how to take care of itself. Why?

“Enthused kids move parents!" she says. "They'll get them to try artichokes, drag them around the grocery store, and help out in the kitchen; they can move the whole family in a healthy direction.”

Stick a Fork in It is the latest program supporting her culinary calling. Classes take place most Sundays at the Highland Village farmers market at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. The classes cost $25 per student; each student makes a chef’s hat, which doubles as a nametag, plus a tasty dish that's enough to share with parents and siblings (next Sunday, kids will make Spanakopita, a spinach pastry pie.).

Karavias also takes her classes on tasting field trips around the market to meet the vendors and ask questions. They talk about phytochemicals, sustainability and how blueberries give you extra brain power.

So far, Karavias and crew have dished up delicacies like fabulous French toast stuffed with lemon-honey chevre and organic jam, holy guacamole with handmade tortillas, grilled Gulf shrimp and pineapple skewers with coconut-cilantro dipping sauce, succulent stuffed tomatoes and pizzazzy pizza with homemade marinara sauce, among several other sweet treats.

Satisfied customers? Oh yes — kids eat up the program.

More and more show up each week, including several repeat attenders: boys and girls, short and tall, ages 5 to 14. Karavias says, “Chef Evan, who’s 6, just joined us two weeks in a row — and chef Josh, who’s 11, told me he wanted to tell his Boy Scout troop about this class because they all needed to earn cooking badges.”

Questions? Contact Kellie Karavias via email at: signup@stickafork.com — or just show up next Sunday.