By Claire Harlin
A new restaurant opened in Solana Beach on May 8, but only for one night.
As part of the Kids Cafe cooking class at the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle, 11 children ages 5 to 12 put on a four-course meal, start to finish, for nearly 50 people — mainly their parents and friends — and they called their one-night cafe the “Mustache Freshtaurant.”
The kids spent a month learning the basics of healthy cooking from instructor Amanda Curry, the center’s director and also the host of the SD4 cooking show “The Good Food Factory.” During that time, the kids not only came up with all the recipes themselves, but they learned how to entertain a crowd.
“The kids all arrived, washed their hands and got started in the kitchen with Amanda,” said Patti Keyes, the creative director of the cooking show. “They knew exactly what to expect. They had teams with their own jobs. They cleaned and set the tables … They had candles on the tables and the whole time all I could hear was giggles and laughter.”
On the menu was a “funky freschetta” appetizer, a mango and quinoa “freshalad,” a “rocking’ chicken and edgy veggies,” and homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
Curry said one of the “most magical moments” of the entire experience was when one of the kids rattled off the entire menu by heart the previous week during a practice class.
“He knew every single ingredient, word for word, and finished with ‘Enjoy your meal’,” said Curry. “You could tell he had been practicing it at home.”
Curry said one of the kids, Isabella, learned about the class from watching the “Good Food Factory,” which airs almost daily on SD4.
“It was magical for her,” said Keyes. “She came in and she was star-struck to meet Amanda in person.”
Curry added, “She was the youngest one, only 5 years old, and she was so composed.”
The kids collected tips at the event — $205.26 to be exact — and all proceeds were donated to Rady Children’s Hospital. Twenty percent of ticket sales went back to the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle, housed under the Boys and Girls Club and located at 533 Lomas Santa Fe Drive.
Curry said she plans on holding another Kids Cafe class in the summer, in which the kids will get to once again create and name their own cafe.
For more information on Curry and “The Good Food Factory,” visit www.thegoodfoodfactory.com.