I love that my sons want to help me in the kitchen, but
sometimes it's hard to manage. Involving kids triples the mess,
plus a 7-year-old with a big knife seems like a bad pairing.
But all of that changes on Wednesday evenings at Wrigleyville's Rockit Bar & Grill.
Chef James Gottwald offers Cook It! Classes, during which you and your kids chop, measure and mix. The hands-on lessons take place in the restaurant's kitchen. Orders come in. Wait staff moves through. Food goes out. It's exciting.
Rockit Bar provides a menu of cooking options, including wood-fired pizzas, burgers, soups and signature dishes such as rockcorn shrimp. Whatever you cook, you pay for and eat, the class itself is free. (Since Chef James only works with one family once a week, you need to call and make reservations.)
My sons decided they wanted to learn to cook pizza, so on a recent night we headed over to Rockit and donned chef whites and aprons. We checked out the recipe Chef James provided and, with his guidance, set to work.
A father himself, Chef James showed infinite patience and a great sense of humor. To explain how yeast works, he had my boys imagine the Pac Man game (with yeast eating sugar). He showed them how to do all the measuring, giving some math lessons along the way. He carefully guided them through the tough job of chopping onions with a very large, very sharp knife. (Yes, you will be required to sign a waiver.)
By the time they had played with the immersion blender, rolled out dough and chosen toppings, my sons felt great about their culinary creations. All that was left was to sit down in the restaurant's comfy booths and enjoy.
We were pleasantly surprised at the family-friendly neighborhood feel (which I suspect might change during Cubs home games, so check the schedule).
While my sons waited for their pizzas to cook, I ordered from Rockit's extensive menu of upscale pub foods. My non-shrimp-eating sons loved the rockcorn shrimp in chili-lime sauce and we all devoured the truffle fries that accompanied my tasty Kobe beef burger.
The pizzas were, of course, fantastic.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.