East Bay Express, April 23, 2014
By Luke Tsai
A Chef's Camp for Kids
COOK! teaches kids basic cooking skills — and preps them for potential careers in the culinary arts.
On the surface, Elazar Sontag seems like a typical sixteen-year-old kid — until you learn that he has his own food blog and moonlights weekly in the kitchens of two prominent East Bay restaurants. Sontag wants to open his own restaurant someday, and although he has been cooking since he was little, he credits his career aspirations to COOK!, a kids' cooking camp that Sontag has attended every summer since he was twelve.
"Something just clicked, and I knew this is what I was going to do," he said. "[The camps give] you a tool kit: Here's what it's like to provide for other people."
Launched in 2009, COOK! is the brainchild of Tracy Cates, who runs the commercial kitchen Paulding & Company (1410 D 62nd. St., Emeryville) along with her mother, Terry Paulding, a former restaurant cook. At the time, Paulding & Company offered several cooking classes for adults in addition to hosting cooking-themed corporate team-building events, which remain the mother-daughter business' main source of income. That year Cates started getting lots of phone calls from parents who wanted to know if she offered any classes for kids. She said she recalled thinking, "You know, I've always wanted to be a camp counselor. Maybe this is my big opportunity." ...Read the full article