Chef Camp-Outer Banks is designed for teens ages 13-18/Chef-Camp Jr for youth ages 11-13 – 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, youth 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 participants 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 Leadership: Youth–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, participants 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, chefs 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 includes guest chefs and other topic experts!

Field Trips & Career ExplorationOne of the awesome perks of the program’s Outer Banks beach location is the myriad of restaurants and other food-related businesses! In our work with Chefs and operators, participants get a chance to explore various aspects of the local food industry. Field trips vary by session and may include 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 the cooking/eating experience with the growing & sourcing of food is a critical aspect to being a chef. Field trips will also include exploring local markets and participating in educational activities on topics such as seasonal foods, organic farming, and sustainable food production. Our aspiring chefs will learn about where 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 flavors!

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: While at camp, participants will learn and practice a wide variety of kitchen skills:

  • Kitchen safety, kitchen hygiene, and sanitary safe food handling
  • Various Preparation Techniques- proper knife skills, chopping, mashing, grating, etc, etc.
  • Mise En Place (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs) -“Everything In Place”
  • Various Cooking Methods & Baking Techniques
  • Presentation
  • Table Setting, serving & service skills, table etiquette
  • Healthy eating, nutrition, menu planning
  • Food selection, sustainable produce
  • Delicious food factors: Flavor, taste, appearance, texture, etc.
  • 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.