Lighting the Culinary Spark

by | Dec 1, 2020

Lighting the Culinary Spark

New Santa Fe Children’s Museum video series explores the art and science of food.

Pre-pandemic, one of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum‘s most popular weekly programs was Seeds and Sprouts, where visitors learned about gardening, cooking and sustainable methods in our Community Garden, acre-plus sustainable garden and outdoor area located adjacent to the museum. 

Children would experience hands-on gardening within an embedded curriculum providing science, art and humanities education. Kids and their caregivers would track the life cycle throughout the year, by preparing the soil, planting starts, planning the community garden, and growing and harvesting food. This weekly program often ended in sharing and preparing a meal from the garden.

With Seeds and Sprouts on temporary hiatus, we wanted to create a new program that would fill that void, while also creating a digital extension that we didn’t have pre-COVID, one that could continue even after the pandemic is over. 

​The result is the Santa Fe Children’s Museum Culinary Program, a soon-to-be-released video series and culinary program with local chef Justin Kouri. Our goal is to enlighten the culinary spirit in children and parents. This video series, an extension of our Seeds and Sprouts program, is in development. Families will be able to access free content, including videos, recipes and more, from their home.  

At the Children’s Museum, we grow a wide array of vegetables in our acre-plus outdoor space and community garden, including tomatoes, which we use in our culinary curriculum. Despite tomatoes’ frequent appearance in Italian cuisine, tomatoes were originally cultivated in Peru and were exported to Europe in the sixteenth century. Luckily, they grow well in various climates, providing valuable biological lessons in the garden.

We are excited to share this delicious recipe incorporating tomatoes, as prepared by Chef Justin Kouri for the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and our Seeds and Sprouts Culinary Program. Justin is not only a new board member for the museum but also an accomplished food stylist and cook. 

When cooking at home with your child, here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • Select a simple recipe and get ready for some kitchen togetherness. Use this time to talk and learn. Cooking uses basic math skills. You also can use the time to talk about good nutrition and why you chose the ingredients you’re using. 


  • Choose a time when you are all well rested and have some time to cook! Cooking on a timeline with kids just causes more anxiety for everyone, so relax and don’t look at the clock. 
  • Loosen up! Things are bound to get a little messy, so don’t stress about the mess you are making. Focus on the experience.
  • Stress safety and establish some kitchen rules. Talk about which kitchen tasks are for grownups and which are for kids.
  • Have fun and enjoy this quality time together.
  • Bon appetit!

Even during this challenging time, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum strives to serve our community through various adaptations, including virtual field trips and birthday parties, “Museum at Home” activities, online gift store shopping, and now the Culinary Program.

We have plans for more videos, but at this time we are looking for a sponsor to help with the hard costs including editing, production and filming. With a staff of eight (we had to lay off from our 15 staff in March) we are working as hard as possible to educate and provide some much-needed fun for our kids and families. We miss seeing you!

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