Tiny chefs discover 'it's the taste that counts' at George Brown culinary school

A group of Grade 5 students got some hands-on culinary training Monday at the George Brown Chef School.

Grade 5 students from two Toronto schools learn to cook produce they grew themselves

Students from Driftwood Public School and Burrows Hall Junior Public School got some lessons on everything from nutrition to grilling on Monday. (Paul Smith/CBC)

A group of Grade 5 students got some hands-on culinary training Monday at the George Brown Chef School.

Students from Driftwood Public School and Burrows Hall Junior Public School got lessons on everything from nutrition to grilling from the school's director, Chef John Higgins.

"The world would be a great place if everyone just sat around a table and ate food," Higgins told CBC Toronto. "I just believe it brings people together, it brings communities together."

Chef John Higgins, director of the George Brown Chef School, conducts a tasting with students Monday. (Paul Smith/CBC)

The event was a partnership between the schools, George Brown and humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger, which raises money to fight food crises around the world.

The group hosted planting parties at both schools this spring, and students were able to harvest their fruit and vegetables and cook them themselves Monday. The goal was to teach the kids how to grow and prepare healthy food.

"Cooking takes a lot of patience, and you can't just zoom through it," Maitreyi Thiphaharan told CBC Toronto. "You have to enjoy it at the same time because it's pretty fun."

 Maitreyi said the biggest skill she learned Monday was the grilling. It's important to not flip onions too frequently, she said, but you also have to keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

"I learned that you should always enjoy your food. It doesn't really matter if it's for the Queen or if it's for you — it's the taste that counts."

Ruthann Bayanos said one of her favourite parts was planting the produce. She moved here three years ago from the Philippines, and said she hasn't done any gardening since she arrived.

"It was really fun planting with my classmates," she said. "And I actually learned how to use a knife today. I have a fear of knives but I got it over with."

Grade 5 students cooked vegetables they grew themselves at school. (Paul Smith/CBC)

Higgins said the day was all about forming connections — both between the students and food, as well as among the students themselves.

"It's to inspire the generation of young culinarians and people who love food, and to pass on some knowledge."