Have you ever dreamed of sharing a pizza with television show host and celebrity chef Rachael Ray? What about cooking with actress Valerie Bertinelli? You know you would never pass up the chance to whip up some mac and cheese with Food Network's Bobby Flay.
Well, you can have all those experiences and many more thanks to a new and free summer program, which partly benefits students at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
Parents who are pulling their hair out trying to find ways to entertain their children this summer with educational or at least non-video game playing hours of the day, listen up.
Rachael Ray's Yum-o!® Cooking Camp is a free, 16-part live virtual cooking camp scheduled to begin Thursday, July 30, at 2pm EST on Zoom. The 45-minute, interactive online series will connect viewers to their favorite chefs, celebrities and lifestyle personalities who will teach them simple recipes, skills and techniques that will up their culinary game, while providing a learning experience. The cooking camp is geared for kids 8 to 15 years old, but everyone is welcome to join.
“The first discipline I learned that helped improve my self-esteem, excite all of my senses and fuel my creativity was and still remains cooking,” said Rachael Ray, television personality and bestselling author. “So, I am excited to light some fires in the next few weeks of summer with our virtual cooking camp, while staying in and being safe!”
More than 35,000 people signed up for the camp hours after the announcement. Besides Ray, the all-star lineup includes other food royalty such as: Giada De Laurentiis, Bizarre Foods Andrew Zimmern, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, Carla Hall, Alex Guarnaschelli, Duff Goldman, Jet Tila, Worst Cooks in America's Anne Burrell, Jessica Woo, Jernard Wells, Melba Wilson, Girl Meets Farm's Molly Yeh and TikTok personality and viral sensation, Eitan Bernath.
The summer camp is powered by the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City and South Beach Wine & Food Festivals presented by Capital One and sponsored by companies like Barilla, Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, PotsandPans.com, Reddi-wip and Vlasic. Families can prepare for the class by gathering cooking utensils and purchasing ingredients or having them delivered through another of the program's sponsors, Shipt, a grocery delivery service.
In addition, when someone registers, he or she has the option to donate to one of two charitable organizations, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America or to Rachael Ray's Yum-o!® Scholarship, a newly-founded scholarship fund at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at FIU, offering students the opportunity to further their ambitions in the kitchen and beyond.
"We are so grateful to Rachael Ray for her generosity and support of our future hospitality students," said Michael Cheng, dean of the Chaplin School. "The Yum-o! !® Scholarship will open doors to a student who might not have considered furthering his or her education due to financial constraints."
Hosts and moderators will broadcast live from their homes, while families can connect with them during the interactive cooking demonstrations by asking questions via the Zoom Chat function.
To learn more about the program or to register, visit www.RRCookingCamp.com.
Bonus: all those back to school essays about "What I did on my summer vacation" may be a little more interesting now.