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Inspiring young chefs

Area kids are getting the chance to expand their culinary skills thanks to the virtual Neighborhood Chefs cooking series.

According to 4-H Youth Development Associate Extension Agent Jake Morgan, as part of the program, local children from Prince Edward and Buckingham counties are given a virtual cooking class by local restaurants, with one video premiering online each month for kids to follow along.

Participants are provided many of the ingredients and utensils they need for each recipe from the 4-H extension office prior to the video’s premiere. They then follow along with the video as they cook from home with proper adult supervision.

The series is the product of a partnership between Prince Edward 4-H and three local restaurants: The Fishin’ Pig, North Street Press Club and Applebee’s.

The first video to premiere in the three-part series was an easy-to-follow, 15-minute tutorial on how to make southern fried catfish courtesy of The Fishin’ Pig’s “Chef Ken” Stenback and Matt Hurley. The clip premiered Sunday, Jan. 28.

The next cooking tutorials are scheduled to premiere February 18 and March 18.

Morgan said the idea for the program, which is also made possible by financial support from the United Way of Prince Edward, began a year ago, although some adjustments had to be made for socially distanced culinary lessons as a result of the pandemic. Longwood University intern Lane Williams has been able to help record and edit the videos in order to give local kids access to some new recipes and cooking skills.

And although space is completely filled up for this round of videos, Morgan said he’s excited to start planning the next installment of lessons whether they are virtual or in person.