Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Friday, November 15, 2013

Meet Kitchen Kid Founder and Culinary Coach, Samantha Barnes!

Kitchen Kid Interview with Samantha Barnes

I was first introduced to Kitchen Kid two summers ago, when my budding chef and daughter attended a cooking camp with them.  She loved it so much that we signed her up again last year.  I am excited to have founder, Samantha Barnes, featured on the blog today to talk about her newest culinary adventure,  Raddish.  

Raddish culinary subscription box

VM: Tell us about Raddish.  What is it and who is it for?
SB: Raddish is a monthly subscription box that makes cooking with kids easy, enriching, and fun!  Raddish delivers illustrated recipe guides, culinary adventures, and family fun right to your door.  The box is perfect for families who are looking to connect in a meaningful way - in the kitchen preparing meals, and at the table enjoying them.

VM: How did you come up with the idea for Raddish? 
SB: I founded Kitchen Kid, LA's premier mobile cooking school for kids, seven years ago, and since then my mission has been to bring families together around food, through birthday parties, summer camp, and enrichment classes.  We've wanted to spread our mission to families outside of Los Angeles, and Raddish takes our proven techniques, engaging lessons, and delightful recipes, and packages them up for families across the nation. 

VM: Will there be vegan and vegetarian options in the service?  Are the recipes adaptable, if not, for those who want to subscribe and don't eat meat?
SB: We do plan to create uniquely themed boxes for vegans, vegetarians, and those with other dietary restrictions.  Until then, our recipes are definitely adaptable, and there will always be multiple vegetarian recipes in each box.  In fact, the first box, "The Family Table" does not use any meat.  

VM: For those interested in getting their kids more involved in the kitchen, what 3 things do you suggest parents do to get started?
a.) Start tonight.  The kids don't have to make a full complicated meal with you; just get them involved doing something.  Give kids small tasks like washing veggies, measuring dry ingredients, or tearing lettuce.  
b.)  Go to the grocery store together and enlist your kids' help finding the ingredients. 
c) Cook something special for someone else. Food is a beautiful gift, and kids feel the love and generosity that comes out of gifting something homemade. 

VM: Can you share a favorite recipe?
Enjoy this tasty vegetarian recipe for Ratatouille, that we developed for the Master Chef Junior Collection!

Serves 4


3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large eggplant, diced into ½ inch cubes
3-4 small zucchini, diced into ½ inch rounds
1 red pepper, sliced
2-3 diced tomatoes, with juices
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped basil leaves
Grated cheese, optional

1.    In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil until just shimmering and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

2.    Add the eggplant and cook about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the zucchini and red pepper, and continue to cook and stir another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

3.    Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, oregano, and thyme. Continue to cook the mixture until it thickens and all vegetables are tender, about 6 more minutes. 

4.    Add salt, pepper, and basil leaves to taste.  

5.    Serve hot or at room temperature with grated cheese. 

VM: What are your top 3 tools you recommend keeping in the kitchen when cooking with kids?
a) Kids love zesting lemons.  With careful parent supervision, a microplane is really fun.  
b) A scale and a map.  At Raddish, we think the kitchen is the tastiest place to learn, and love making real life connections as we cook.  A kitchen scale and world map really help make this happen! 
c) Craft scissors.  Kids as young as 3 can cut everything from basil to bacon with kids' craft scissors! 

VM: What 3 ingredients are your favorites to cook with?
SB: Right now I'm into butternut squash, ricotta, French lentils, and polenta. 

VM: I am on a quest to live the "good" life in all aspects of the word.  What does the "good" life represent/mean to you?
SB: I achieve the "good life" when I find the balance necessary to be a successful working mom.  It's hard to juggle owning and operating Kitchen Kid, starting Raddish, and spending quality time with my kids.  In my family, the "good life" is enjoying breakfast or dinner together as a family at our table. 

VM: Do you have a favorite quote you can share?
SB: "One cannot think well, love well, or sleep well if one has not dined well." (Virginia Woolf) 

Thank you, Samantha!  You can read more about Samantha below and order a subscription to Raddish here.

Kitchen Kid and Raddish founder, Samantha Barnes snacking with her family
Samantha Barnes is committed to changing the way kids and families eat. As a middle school teacher, Samantha realized many of her students were young foodies, yet they lacked kitchen experience and made unhealthy lunch choices. Samantha launched Kitchen Kid, LLC in 2006 with the hope of empowering young people to jump into the kitchen and get cooking! 
Since then, Samantha has grown Kitchen Kid to be the premier mobile culinary school for kids and families in the Los Angeles area. Offerings include in-home lessons and birthday parties, after-school enrichment classes in 30 schools, and deliciously fun summer camps. 
Her new product, Raddish, is a monthly subscription box that connects families in the kitchen and at the table.  Through illustrated recipe guides, culinary activities, and family fun, it makes it easy and enriching for parents and kids to cook together! 

Samantha and Kitchen Kid have been featured in Daily Candy, the Los Angeles Times, Sunset Magazine, and on NPR. Recently she served as a consultant on the new Fox hit show, MasterChef Junior, and her summer camps received the 2013 Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award for Best Camp in Los Angeles.
Samantha was destined for a career in food and teaching: her first word was “olive,” and she has taught kids in the classroom, on stage, and on the ski slopes. She has vivid memories of making meatloaf and gingersnap cookies alongside her mom.
Samantha knows all about multi-tasking: she juggles running a business while being the mom of a 3 ½ year old daughter and a 1 1/2 year old son. She believes the kitchen and the table are some of the best places to connect with her kids in a meaningful way. She cooks with her daughter regularly, and her family eats dinner together nightly. She loves entertaining friends – when the kids run around the yard barefoot, and everyone enjoys good food, good company, and lots of laughter.
Samantha is passionate about teaching kids to cook, and encouraging families to eat together.