Calling All Chefs

By Todd Foster

“Kitchens are hard environments, and they form incredibly strong characters.”
–Gordon Ramsay

Sushi, ratatouille, lemon pearls, and gyoza—these are just a few of the dishes that campers learn how to make when they spend a week at Camp MasterChef. The camp wrapped up its first-ever session in summer 2018 in the United States at two locations—Kent, Conn. and Rabun Gap, Ga. Boys and girls ages 8 to 16 spend a week learning the skills they need to become renowned chefs.

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A typical day has campers spending the morning learning from chefs in a culinary class. Each class is capped off by “plating” and tasting the creation. Lunch is followed by a rest hour, and then campers head off to the culinary competition. These competitions borrow from the MasterChef television show and include mystery boxes and fire-up orders, as well as creative contests like making the longest pasta noodle or whipping meringue. The afternoon is filled with traditional camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts, and sports. Each day is New Year’s Eve at camp, and we celebrate each evening with a theme party. It might be 1950s rock and roll, or Wild West, but each theme includes games, dancing, and celebrating.

Camp MasterChef also brings in celebrities from the television shows MasterChef and MasterChef JR. These visits include time for the celebrity to teach classes, judge the competition, and have a question-and-answer session. What is the number-one question? “Is Gordon Ramsay that mean?” Our celebrities are split as to the answer.

Here are creative ideas that worked during our first year:

  • Each Monday the kids fill out a postcard thanking their parents for sending them to camp.

  • While each camp might not have the luxury of bringing in celebrities, local experts are a good resource to help campers learn a skill.

  • We are a culinary camp at heart, but combining traditional activities gives campers an opportunity they might not get anywhere else.

  • Having each day themed to a different era in history provides campers with something new, but the New Year’s Eve element makes them feel comfortable with the activity.

  • Having international staff members at camp has been amazing! Not only do they provide an interesting cultural component, but they are doubly so for Camp MasterChef when we talk about and create dishes from around the world.

Camp MasterChef is expanding to Houston, Texas and the Chicago area next summer, while still offering camps in the Northeast and Georgia. For more information visit www.campmasterchef.com

Todd Foster is the Camp Director at Camp MasterChef in Georgia. Reach him at todd.foster@campmasterchef.com.

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Camp Basics
Student to Instructor Ratio: 12 to 1
Location: Georgia, Texas, Chicago, Northeast U.S.
Cost to Attend Camp: $1,600
Ages: Co-ed 8 to 16
Camp MasterChef is a culinary camp that immerses kids in an epicurean wonderland to enhance their skills and to delight their senses.