Forget bake-sale brownies or anything sticky from a Betty Crocker oven. In the Hamptons, a children’s cooking class was bound to bear little resemblance to Home Ec. Still, more than a few eyebrows were raised upon hearing of the Ross School’s weeklong course in how to throw a dinner party.
Parents at the exclusive East Hampton establishment shelled out $500 for their 9- to 14-year-olds to learn everything from the art of place cards to the etiquette of eating raw fish, with a dinner-party test run at (where else?) Nick and Toni’s. Lessons also included a visit to a farm, the decoding of RSVPs, and ideas for stuffing zucchini flowers. “You could use crab meat!” suggested the teacher, Cindy Farkas Glanzrock, who normally works as a broker with Trammell Crow Company.
Some students, like Kyle Sargent, 13, were old pros. “I help set the tables,” she said about her parents’ annual black-tie affair for 50 friends at their Brooklyn Heights home. “This year was really fun—we all got to wear bindis.” Glanzrock discovered it was hard to teach these children anything gourmet they didn’t already know—though it was news to most that it’s okay to eat sushi, not sashimi, with your fingers. Only rarely did kids’ tastes clash with haute cuisine realities. Like when Emily Brout, 9, lobbied in vain to serve deviled eggs. “It’s the only food I like that starts with an E, like my name!”
Lukas Weinstein, director of the school’s summer programs, says he definitely plans to offer the class next year: “There was a huge demand. We even had to put kids on the waiting list.”