{FSC EVENT} Free Kids Cooking Class at Chipotle

Adventures in Guacamole Making: Abby, Jack and Miles (he looks interested huh?)

Besides Farmer Michael of Kilpatrick Family Farm, Justine & Brian of Denison Farm, Dianna & Michael for their urban maple syrup, Josh & Stephanie of West Wind Acres, Rick of Ballston Lake Apiaries, and the uber-talented Canners & Jammers of FSC Swappers,  I can also thank General Manager Tracie, Kendra & Kaia and the rest of the staff at the Chipotle on Route 50 in Saratoga Springs for feeding my family *safety* on a seriously regular basis.

Another dimension of Miles’ food allergies is that its extremely challenging to eat out. Yes, I could bring Miles meals to a restaurant while Charles & I had some Nom but I don’t roll like that. Miles has enough “no don’t eat that” all day long, where ever we go: daycare, playdates, family holiday dinners, playgrounds, grocery store cafes, the Y, and ever other public place as FOOD IS EVERYWHERE!

He is an adventurous eater at 3, and I don’t want to squash it, especially when he is with us. I want Miles to grow up with, not only a positive view of  food, but also the comfort that when he is with his parents he can eat everything on the table, for once he’s NOT the odd man out. Just this morning, while making me ‘breakfast’ in his ‘kitchen’, he told me he wanted to be a chef. (insert my beaming face as I was having the most rewarding parental moment: My food allergic son loves food. Phew.)

So, to take load off the ‘from scratch’ breakfasts, daycare lunches & snacks and dinners, we eat Chipotle. A lot. In a “pull back the blog curtain’ truth time its about 2-3 meals week. Simple whole ingredients from sustainable & ethical farms (when possible its a start) made into simple tasty food. Not microwaved in a bag. Actual cooking equipment (pots, pans, knives, whisks, spoons, tongs, spatulas) and prep work done on premise: dicing, chopping, mixing, marinating is actually happening in the kitchen and you can watch them do it. For a reasonable “restaurant” price, again, I can cook from scratch at home cheaper per serving..but hey, someone’s doing the work for me a few times a week! It takes a load off as there are no last-minute pizza nights for us.

Coming from a parent of a food allergic child, who reads ingredient lists like you read your RSS Feed or the NYTimes, I can tell you that not many places have ingredient lists this short. Simple with a clear & extremely short list of ingredients. Herbed Rice is just that: rice & herbs. Guacamole is not “watered” down with sour cream, as its truly just avocados, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, jalapeno and salt & pepper.

Latham Chiptole

When we first visited the Chipotle on Route 50, I asked for an ingredient list and was given a simple chart that had the top 8 allergens and had check marks next to items that had those ingredients. I could also look at their {super short} ingredient lists to to make sure. On that teeny tiny handout it was amazing sight to see that only the sour cream & shredded cheese had dairy checked off. I know this sounds like I’m exaggerating, but the top 8 allergens, including dairy protein, show up in very funny places… so the shock that Miles could go hog-wild was a relief. (Cross contamination is always an issue as those crazy shreds of cheese can get into other parts of the line, we acknowledge that, and take that risk. To try to decrease this risk, the staff always gets Miles’ guacamole from a container in the refrigerator. )

Stuyvesant Plaza Chipotle

That was 24 months ago and we have never looked back. We know most managers in the area (Hi Liz in Clifton Park, Hi Kyle in Stuyvesant Plaza) and Miles is sorta Chipotle famous. He is greeted like “Norm” on a Cheers episode and I love that. So when Tracie, the Manager at the Saratoga Springs location, mentioned that she does “cooking classes” for local school groups for free as a way to get people in the door I jumped at the chance to get the FSC Kiddos in for a class.

On a hot day last August, the FSC gang all arrived and we hit the ground running. Kaia & Kendra, both long-time members of the Chipotle team, had the kids wash their hands in the kitchen sink (ohh exciting) and get on official Chipotle aprons. Once seated in the dining area, Kaia began her class on guacamole making, including telling the kiddos where the avocados come from and what makes up the recipe. We split into two groups and began our adventures in guacamole making.

The Kiddos Ready to Work

First Kendra brought out two gigantic trays of avocado halves, all ready for us to take the gigantic kitchen spoons to lick scoop out the goods into a big bowl. The kiddos (with our guidance) did the whole tray.

Scoop Kiddos Scoop!

Next, the kids were given gigantic potato mashers to smush the avocados before adding the chopped red onion,cilantro,  lime & lemon juice and other spices (don’t want to give their recipe away!) Once the kiddos mixed it all together, it was time to eat it. Kaia went into the back, spooned the gorgeous green stuff into bowls and served it with chips. Then all the caregivers & kiddos each got a lunch on the house. A wonderful experience, not only to ‘learn’ how food is made but to see how a commercial restaurant kitchen functions and how to work together. Many FSC kiddos didn’t like guacamole at the beginning of the morning and by the end couldn’t get enough of the stuff. I think the kids loved the experience-Success!

avocados ready to be mashed!

We have exciting news:

Wilton Chipotle would like to give our
readers & their children a chance to take a cooking class!

When: Friday, April 13th at 10am.
Where: Wilton Chipotle, 3057 New York 50 #5  Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Time: Class starts at 10 and will be completed by 10:45/55, then all the caregivers & children get to enjoy a lunch on Chipotle and can say until they are finished. The restaurant opens to the public at 11am.
Price: FREE
Tickets: We are opening this up to the first 10 families (each family only needs ONE ticket) that register on the form below. Should there be lots of interest, we will schedule another date in the future. You will be notified by Monday morning if you were one of the first 10 to register.


1) Each family needs to limit the ‘caretakers’ to two but can bring as many children that are in the family. From personal experience w/ Miles (he was 2 and a half when this event took place), I will say this class is best for 3 & older, but any child, over the age of 2 years old, is allowed to participate.

2) Food Allergies: In this class the children create guacamole which has avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon & lime juice and spices. Then the children & caretakers are allowed to eat the guacamole with the corn chips sold at the restaurant. You are then offered a free lunch from the regular service line.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Anna Kintz says:

    I signed up but hit submit before finishing my sons allergies. Gluten and all milk

  2. Erin Olson says:

    Oh, this sounds like a BLAST! My daughter is currently 2 1/2, hmmm, maybe we should wait for the next one? She does love to cook though, so I think she would have fun.

  3. Ethan says:

    Sounds like a great idea for cooking with kids! Thanks for sharing! I’d like to invite you to our party, Fantastic Thursday. http://www.fivelittlechefs.com Hope to see you there!

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