The garden of Los Monteros hotel in Marbella was busy on Monday morning with 150 children learning how to cook with the help of 31 of the Spain’s most renowned chefs. The event formed part of the Chefs for Children programme, which culminated in a gala dinner at the hotel on Monday evening.
Some 120 pupils from seven schools in Marbella (Hermanos Gil Muñiz, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Valdeolletas, Platero, Xarblanca, Miguel de Cervantes and Francisco Echamendi) and 30 from the Down España association got down to work to prepare delicious and nutritious recipes.
Tartlets, free-range chicken skewers with pesto and seasoned potatoes, tomato and cheese brochettes, cous cous and citrus salad and Iberian pork sandwiches with bread made by Domi Vélez, recently named best baker in the world, were on the menu.
José Carlos Orozco, a teacher at Miguel de Cervantes primary school, explained that among his students "it is increasingly noticeable that food is changing and that children are more involved in helping their parents.” The chef Martín Berasategui said: "They are a thousand times more intelligent than we were at their age,” adding, "This is the most beautiful thing you can do: to make these young people happy. We have the know-how, but they have the youth," he said. "It’s infectious. If you look, there isn't a single one of them who doesn't have bright eyes and we have to pass on our passion and make sure they have a good time," he emphasised.
The gardens of the Los Monteros hotel were filled with laughter, questions and explanations. "You have to grate the lemon peel, being careful not to get to the white part because it tastes very bitter. If you try it, you'll see", Begoña Rodrigo told her group of students who were busy with the cous cous and citrus salad. Alongside her, Gael, from Nuestra Señora del Carmen, said. "We are learning a lot of things", while revealing that his favourite dish is "the aubergine lasagne that my father makes".
The day began with a presentation from mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, who highlighted the importance of cuisine for the town. "We want Marbella to be recognised for its gastronomy," she said.
“The experience has been wonderful. They are getting away from their routine and all the obligations they have throughout the year," explained Daniela, mother of Luca, one of the children with Down's syndrome, who is very aware of the importance of healthy eating. "Thanks to his father, he eats everything," Daniela said, adding, "He loves vegetables and fruit and associates everything with becoming strong like his father," she smiled.