Chef Camp-Outer Banks is designed for teens ages 13-18 who have a strong interest in culinary arts, a desire to explore a variety of cooking techniques, and a passion for creating fabulous food! Prior formal cooking instruction is not required to attend and have fun! At Chef Camp, teens build essential cooking & life skills!

At Chef Camp,  we combine hands-on culinary instruction and meal preparation with restaurant tours, demos & tastings, guest chefs & experts, visits to local seafood and farmers markets, and other “foodie-related” destinations. A “beach break” is also scheduled daily for relaxing, swimming, and enjoying the local area!

Program/Culinary Curriculum

Chef Camp is a culinary specialty program utilizing various experiential teaching methods where teen-chefs are immersed in real-life, hands-on learning-by-doing! And, unlike other camps which offer cooking as one of many elective activities (often taught by an unskilled teenage camp counselor in a makeshift temporary kitchen...) Chef Camp is a total immersion culinary program!

Real-Life Meal Preparation: Teen-chefs hone their cooking skills in real-life real-time situations as they operate the program's kitchen as “their restaurant” for the session, and are responsible for all aspects of daily meal preparations. Participants eat the food that they cook, just like they do in the top culinary schools. And, just like in a real restaurant, teen-chefs are assigned to work in crews, sharing responsibilities for everything from meal planning, budget management, and cooking to table setting, table service, and sanitation.

Real-Life LeadershipTeen–chefs take turns acting as the Head Chef for their kitchen crew, and face the responsibilities and challenges of leadership in the kitchen - including when the crew is struggling to work together, resolving conflicts, or when things don’t go exactly as planned….

Real-Life Teamwork: The leadership abilities of the chef play a pivotal role in dictating a kitchen’s success. Equally important is how well the team functions. In a restaurant, teamwork is critical to delivering good customer service and creating a dining experience that is memorable. Working in a kitchen requires constant face-to-face personal interactions, where knowing how to get along with others, cooperation, how to develop relationships and work closely with others is critical to the success of the team. At camp, teen-chefs work side-by-side to prepare each dish, and are provided with opportunities to learn and practice behaviors designed to increase their ability to build relationships with others – which is not only key to kitchen success, but also to success in life!

Cooking Challenges: Just like your favorite TV shows, crews will be put to the test with complex and fun culinary challenges! Teamwork and creativity required!

Guest Chefs & Instructors: In addition to field trips to local restaurants and other venues, cooking instruction will include guest chefs and other topic experts!

Field Trips & Career Exploration: One of the awesome perks of the program’s Outer Banks beach location is the myriad of restaurants and other food-related businesses on the Outer Banks! In our work with Chefs and operators, teens will get a chance to explore various aspects of the local food industry. Field trips will vary by session and may include such activities as enjoying meals or tasting menus, behind-the-scenes tours, hands-on cooking lessons, restaurant management topics, shadowing staff, and getting career advice from local Chefs!

Sustainable Sourcing & Farm-To-Table: Understanding the connections between cooking & eating experiences with the growing & sourcing of foods is a critical aspect to being a chef. Field trips will also include exploring local restaurants and markets and participating in educational activities on topics such as seasonal foods, organic farming, and sustainable food production. Our aspiring teen-chefs will learn about where their food comes from and the numerous advantages of locally sourced meats & seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, and usage of natural, unprocessed ingredients.

Seafood & Local Cuisines: It should go without saying that a culinary program based in the Outer Banks is going to have some seafood preparation on the menu!  The unique Atlantic coast ecosystem contributes to one of the most diverse, year-round selections of fish and shellfish available. Working with locally caught seafood in season, participants will learn various preparation methods. Teens will also prepare and experience local Southern traditions and flavor, such as Carolina low country boil, as well as celebrating the success of each session with a traditional Outer Banks clambake!

Community Service: Each session, teens will participate in one short-term food-related community service project. This is intended as an opportunity to give to others in a meaningful way and encourage personal growth. 

Kitchen Skills: Instruction in

  • Kitchen safety, kitchen hygiene, and sanitary safe food handling
  • Preparation techniques- proper knife skills, chopping, mashing, grating, etc.
  • Cooking Methods
  • Baking Techniques
  • Presentation
  • Table Setting, serving, etiquette
  • Healthy eating, nutrition, menu planning
  • Food selection, sustainable produce
  • Foundations: Terms, techniques and core skills required of all chefs, such as following a recipe, how to weigh and measure ingredients, how the chemistry of foods interact, imparting flavors, etc.)

The Chef Camp Home Kitchen: Cooking Skills To Use At Home: We know that part of your teen’s success will be in being able to come home and recreate the foods, cooking methods, and kitchen skills they learned at camp after the session is over. We recognize that, after camp, most of our aspiring chefs are going to be cooking in their own home kitchens for their families and friends. And, that most camper families don’t have commercial kitchen equipment in their homes….

As such, we intentionally utilize a typical home kitchen and standard equipment usually found at home in our culinary instruction. The “Chef Camp Home Kitchen” concept helps ensure participants can take those skills learned at camp home, and continue to experience cooking success after camp!