Urban Kitchen Pop-Up Restaurant Was Fun! You Should Try to Get Your Kids Enrolled
The pop-up restaurant experience at Yakima's Urban Kitchen was fun and you should try to get your kids to join this class! Urban Kitchen is a youth development program managed by the director, local Yakima celebrity chef, Shawn Niles, lead chef, Chef Julie Kirchoff, and Allan Bros. fruit businessman, director of business David Allan. Shawn was a contestant on Season 8 of MasterChef with renowned culinary gods, Chefs Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sanchez, and Christina Tosi!
This past weekend, my daughter, Willow, and I joined our long-time friends Heather and Rick at a special dinner inside the old location of The Lab restaurant**. Another friend of ours, Lynne, sat at the table with us. This dinner was the culmination of 4 months of interactive classes that taught kids ages 10 through 18 years old how to be successful running a restaurant, creating menus, and learning how to prepare and serve the dishes they came up with as a group.
The menu the kids came up with was a 3-course meal. It included all sorts of fine dining cuisine including lamb pho, flank steak, matcha lava cake, a salad made from shredded Brussel sprouts, ground pork wontons, cream cheese wontons. My favorite course was the baked salmon! When I tell you these kids showed up and showed out, I mean it! My salmon was flaky, well-cooked, and delicious to my palette! I am still craving it days later! Willow is still raving about the ground pork & water chestnut wontons with the roasted sesame soy dipping sauce! They were mouth-watering and scrumptious.
They only allow 15 students at a time and they meet twice a week for four solid months.
The training school is free for kids to attend and the classes are paid for through gracious donations and various fundraisers put on by Chef Shawn and his team of Urban Kitchen experts. Chef Shawn told us that they are planning on the next set of classes in Fall 2022 and that they are creating a nonprofit so that all expenses will be paid for and they will be able to provide additional experiences to teach kids the leadership and culinary skills involved in the hospitality and fine dining industry.
My daughter really wants to attend this class. We had applied last year but as I mentioned earlier, only 15 students are chosen out of all the applicants. Hopefully, she'll be accepted in the next set of classes!
Kids will be encouraged to try eating foods they have never had before, so Willow might have a slight problem with that, as you can see in the photos below. She is one of the pickiest eaters I have ever seen in a kid! Hahahaha! I will give her credit for at least trying to eat a bite of the flank steak. She complained that her steak was "medium rare" and then had the nerve to beg me to let her have some of my salmon instead. The audacity! 😂
May I present to you the 7 stages of Willow's worrying about trying something new! Her facial expressions cracked me UP!
After you scroll down past Willow's pics, I'll give you a special inside scoop about Yakima's newest restaurant, Eats and Elixirs!!
**The Lab restaurant is permanently closed. In March 2022, Chef Shawn Niles is opening up a new restaurant in the same location that will be named, "Eats and Elixirs". The grand opening is March 5, 2022.