Cooking with Kids, Tips for Fun and Safety | Gino's Family
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Cooking with Kids, Simple Tips for Fun and Safety

Posted by Gino Barbaro on

Our mission at Gino’s Family is to get families cooking together in the kitchen and then sitting down and eating the meal. In this video, you're going to learn how to use your Gino's Family Cutlery Set, learn how to teach your children to use the knives safely, knife skills, and overall food safety in your kitchen.

I will also be discussing cooking food and maintaining food at safe temperatures, as well as properly storing food.



You can download our Produce Buyer's Guide below, a guide that goes into detail about how to purchase and store fruits and vegetables.

The term “mise en place” is often used in professional kitchens, but is very apropos for home cooks. It's a French term which simply means putting in place. The goal of every successful cook is to arrange the ingredients and organize your kitchen so that you can execute whatever recipe you are tackling. You want to have all of your ingredients measured, cut and organized before commencing a recipe. For instance, when I am preparing lentil soup, I have my vegetables precut, my stock measured, and the other ingredients at the ready. I have my pots out, and all the utensils on the counter. I have memorized the steps of the recipe and once I begin, I only look back at the recipe if I am unsure of a particular step or ingredient. This will limit my mistakes and allow me to execute the recipe with ease.

Sign up to our free member site where you can view a quick video on mise en place and preparing lentil soup.

We begin teaching our children to use knives at a pretty early age. At three years of age, the kids begin with a butter knife. Our six year old has graduated to a serrated steak knife. The nine year old has risen to using a paring knife. My son Michael, who is twelve, is now wielding the Chef knife. Each child learns at a different pace, so be sure not to push them too quickly, and be right by their side, especially when they start out. In our video, you will learn all the different types of cuts, such as julienne and dice.

The key is to have fun, yet constantly stressing safety and taking your time.

The definition of food being safely cooked is when it reaches a high enough temperature internally to kill any harmful bacteria that may cause food poisoning. How do you know when food reaches the correct temperature? Use a food thermometer and refer to these internal temperatures:

  • Fresh Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb: 145 degrees
  • Poultry 165 Degrees
  • Fish 145 Degrees: cook until flesh is opaque and can be easily separated with a fork
  • Food is considered safe at the above temperatures

I have listed a chart below to show you the temperatures to achieve when trying to achieve a certain “doneness”.

  • Rare
  • Medium Rare
  • Medium
  • Well Done
  • Chicken 165
  • Lamb 130-135  140-145  150-165
  • Beef 125-130  135-140  165
  • Pork 150  160

To use a thermometer properly, place it in the thickest part of the food and do not touch any bone or fat. Let it sit in the food until the thermometer registers a temperature. Remember, the food will continue to cook a few degrees after it is removed from the oven, so be sure to take it out a before it reaches the intended temperature.

You can recheck the temperature once it has been sitting out for a few minutes. Allow the food to rest for several minutes to allow the juices to redistribute, and then begin to carve. If you carve the food too soon, all of the juices will ooze out, along with the flavor.

The temperature between 40 and 140 degrees is called the danger zone, where bacteria grows quickest.

Once the food is cooked, either consume it or allow it to cool quickly and place in the refrigerator. Try to store food in smaller batches to quicken cooling time. For example, if cooling rice, spread it on a sheet tray to cool. When cooling a stock, place the liquid in smaller containers and utilize water baths. It would be ideal if the food can be brought down to 40 degrees within 4 hours of cooking. Your goal is to get the food out of the danger zone as quickly as possible.

I hope this video has given you some ideas on how to teach your children to help you in the kitchen and to be safe in the kitchen. Please visit to view our cooking and gardening videos. - Gino


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