Opinel introduces Le Petit Chef Set, kid-friendly cooking tools that help teach proper kitchen skills. And Michelle Obama hosts a cooking contest for children. The prize is a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House.
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As a nation, we need to be eating better. What am I saying? As a planet, we need to be eating better. Obesity and diet-related diseases are becoming worldwide health issues. In fact, obesity is second only to smoking as the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
The best way to eat healthier, it turns out, is to cook at home. When we cook, we can control how much fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar we’re consuming, especially if we use fresh ingredients as much as possible. And the best way to set our kids on the path to a lifetime of eating healthier is to get them cooking in the kitchen with us.
Legendary French knife maker Opinel has created Le Petit Chef Set, kid-friendly cooking tools that promote proper (and safe) knife handling and kitchen skills. The child-sized kitchen knife and vegetable peeler both feature what Opinel has dubbed an “educational ring.” The child’s index finger slips into the ring, properly positioning the hand on the tools, away from blades. The knife blade has a rounded tip for additional safety.
These are not toys. Since 1890, Opinel has made handcrafted wooden handled folding pocket knives; originally sold as working men’s knives, they have become iconic French tools. The company also makes a wide range of kitchen knives. In this set, the knife and peeler have beechwood handles and stainless steel blades. And both are sharp (Opinel reminds us that young users should be supervised). But as we all know, sharp knives are safer in the kitchen than dull ones—and if you want to teach kids to cook, they don’t need the frustration of dull tools.
Le Petit Chef Set also includes a finger guard that protects the guiding hand while teaching proper technique. When young chefs slip their fingers into the guard’s rings, their hand naturally assumes the claw grip position used by professional cooks to keep fingers away from sharp blades.
We saw Le Petit Chef Set at the International Home + Housewares Show this month, where Opinel was introducing it to the US market. It’s currently available through the Opinel USA website and at two retailers, Stock Culinary Goods in Providence, Rhode Island and Tarzian West Housewares in Brooklyn. Le Petit Chef Set retails for around $55.
Kids, cooking and a White House contest
As part of her ongoing initiative against childhood obesity, first lady Michelle Obama is urging families to cook more meals at home—and to get kids cooking. She’s teamed up with USDA, the U.S. Department of Education and Epicurious to host a cooking contest for children eight to 12 years old. A winner from each state will attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House. (The entry deadline is April 5, so get your kid in the kitchen!)