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Amy Storch lives in Washington D.C. and blogs at Amalah, a wonderful confessional and often hilarious source of anecdotes from Amy's life with her husband, Jason, and their two sons. She was a Babble Top 50 Mom Blog and now blogs for Babble Voices.

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Saving the Best For Last: Westin Little Chefs Program ZOMG

By Amy Corbett Storch |

This is the last Westin-sponsored post from me (MOST. FUN. SPONSORSHIP. EVER!)…perhaps next week we can chat about more general travel-with-many-small-children topics? How we survived the plane, what we packed, what we forgot, what we packed and never removed from the suitcase, and such?  

The final activity on our Westin Kids Club itinerary was the “Westin Little Chefs Program.” And I was pretty much sold on the name alone, even though I had no idea what it involved. Chefs! Little ones! (We’re big, big fans of kids’ cooking programs already, as I’ve written about here and here.)

Here’s what’s actually involved: You bring your kids to one of the hotel restaurants. A Kids Club employee and a chef take over from there. You go to the nearest hotel bar and spend a half hour or so drowning your terror that your kids will behave like the exhausted, overstimulated banshees they are and/or set things on fire. Then you head back to the restaurant, get a table, and wait for the kid-made magic to arrive from the kitchen.

One of the chefs came out and chatted with us about the Little Chefs program; he was a really big fan of it, and kids’ cooking in general. He’s lived in Aruba for decades and raised his own children there and is active in initiatives to get Aruban children to eat healthy…including hosting a kids’ cooking show for local TV! He even invited us and our boys to the next taping that Friday, but alas, this was our last night in paradise. Woe.

After that I was admittedly a lot more relaxed at the idea of my kids being back in the kitchen without my supervision…they were with people who genuinely liked kids and possessed the necessary patience levels. (The bottle of wine we ordered helped too.)

I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking, but no lie: This was the absolute highlight of the whole trip. It was AWESOME. My kids were so proud and so excited to be a part of it that I seriously teared up more than once. I’ve never been anywhere that offered something like this, but man. It’s brilliant. Parents get half a meal alone together (well, we had Baby Ike with us, but he’s the “easy” one, honestly), and half a meal basking in their children’s unadulterated joy and delight at eating food they prepared themselves. Best of both worlds. In Aruba. Everybody go home now, because it just doesn’t get any better than this.

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Cooking With Kids at the Westin Aruba Little Chefs Program

Crossing the threshold...

The night started off with a little tour of the massive resort kitchens. I tagged along for a bit before being shooed away so the kids could "surprise" us with an appetizer.

Huge thanks to Westin Hotels & Resorts for sponsoring this campaign.  Click here to see more of the discussion.

Read more original flavor Amalah
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Check out her writing at Mamapop / Alphamom

More from Amalah’s West:

On Taking A Night Off…On Vacation

Better In Aruba: Five Simple Things Our Kids Won’t Stop Talking About

From Babymoon to Family-of-Five Vacation In Just Seven Years

More on Babble

About Amy Corbett Storch

amalah

Amy Corbett Storch

Amy Storch lives in Washington D.C. and blogs at Amalah, a wonderful confessional and often hilarious source of anecdotes from Amy's life with her husband, Jason, and their two sons. She was a Babble Top 50 Mom Blog and now blogs for Babble Voices. Read bio and latest posts → Read Amy Corbett's latest posts →

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25 thoughts on “Saving the Best For Last: Westin Little Chefs Program ZOMG

  1. Gretchen says:

    What a great program! Kids just love doing grown-up stuff. I love that they got to serve you, too. They were probably so proud!

  2. Kailee says:

    My husband and I have had a Starwood American Express card for years. We travel quite a bit, and we LOOOOOVVEEE the Starwood hotels (Westin, Sheraton, W, etc) and frequently use our points for a stay here and there. Your trip to Aruba and ALL! THE! FUN! STUFF! you’ve posted has seriously got us motivated to save points so we can take our boys (and ourselves) for an awesome family vacation someday. It will be awhile for us (our kiddos are 12 months and Still Gestating), but I’ve LOVED this series of posts and I’m already looking forward to getting there in a few years time!

  3. Shanna says:

    wow my kids would love this!! they always beg to help out with dinner, i can only imagine how happy they would be doing this!

  4. Jolene says:

    Oh wow! My girls would love this! We’re not going on vacation anytime soon, but I’m definitely going to pick up some pizza dough and let them create their own pies. What a fun way to occupy them for an afternoon AND get a meal out of it :)

  5. Mommyfriend says:

    My kids would love the Westin Little Chefs Program! My eldest son loves The Food Network so any excuse to get his hands in the kitchen and he’s there! What a fun experience for kids. I love that the kids even had hats and aprons! Fun and good eats, what more can a kid (or parent ask for)?

  6. Diandra says:

    I am from Aruba, and I’ve seriously enjoyed your posts. Glad that you enjoyed your vacation!

  7. JCF says:

    Oh, that is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I teared up reading it, just thinking about how proud your kids were to present the food they’d made. I don’t even want to think about what a mess I’d be if it were MY kids who’d made the food. My kids love to cook, especially my oldest (4.5), who claims he’s going to be an excavator driver and a chef when he grows up. Awesome.

  8. Amy Anderson says:

    Aw, that is so cute! What a fun activity for the kids and a great way to get them involved. My parents never let me cook because it was too mess in their kitchen, so this would be perfect – messes up someone else’s kitchen!

  9. Diana Stone says:

    So cute! I love this part of your vacation with Westin, what a special opportunity for your kids! I love that they got to present it to you at the end – but I love the most that you got time to yourself and then an awesome meal. ;)

  10. designhermomma says:

    This vacation appeared to be completely magical for you all. It’s just such an amazing feeling when everybody involves has a great time. Obviously, you all did.

  11. Selena M.B. says:

    Oh, this looks like the bomb-diggs. Great programming like this is hard to come by at a resort – and I didn’t even know about toddler cooking classes before now. As a foodie, I can’t wait to look into this for our littles! Looks like yours had a superb time :-)

  12. ML@My3LittleBirds says:

    I love how you describe your enjoyment watching the kiddos have so much fun! When you’re a parent that’s what it’s all about : )
    What a great experience for your family!

  13. Casey Mullins says:

    We’re headed to a hotel this weekend (in Chicago, not Aruba) that has a cooking program for kids, if it’s not as cool as this one I’m going to be demanding restitution.

  14. Emily @ Live Renewed says:

    Wow! That is seriously an awesome program, I know my kids would LOVE something like that, they love to help in the kitchen so much! I would be totally nervous too that my kids would be the ones throwing food, breaking dishes and the like, but it’s really cool to hear how much the chef there liked kids and working with them. What a fun memory for them, and for you!

  15. Stacy says:

    That is completely awesome! I’m so glad your family had such a great experience! :)

  16. macki says:

    I cook with my kids all the time and my daughter wants to be a chef so this would absolutely make her day, her year! I’ve got to plan this for her.

  17. pregnancy says:

    Terrific paintings! That is the kind of information that should be shared around the web. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this post higher! Come on over and seek advice from my site . Thank you =)

  18. sunny chanel says:

    Super cool! Mom and Dad – they need a break and to relax, but kids – they like to do stuff oh and eat, they like to eat. This way the kids get to do something fun, eat and learn some cooking in the meantime! My daughter would love this program (and you know, so would i!).

  19. laurenjimeson says:

    This is such a fun program! My oldest would have loved this. I bet it was even more special knowing they were making it for their loved ones. What a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen.

  20. Suzy Q says:

    You are the most adorable family!

  21. Meghan says:

    Making their own pizza AND dessert?! My kids would love it. Those are two of the very few things they eat!

  22. Michelle Horton says:

    This might be the cutest idea I’ve ever heard. My son would be SO PROUD to do this for us. I love it!

  23. Whit says:

    My boys would love that. Glad you were able to check it out!

  24. casi says:

    Oh my gosh, what a cute idea! I love it! My girls really would have loved it. It is so nice the Westin thinks of such amazing things! What a great way to get kids involved and have fun on a trip.

  25. Just Heather says:

    This is such a brilliant idea! My girls already love to cook and serve us. To do it with the supervision of a real chef, while we get a bit of alone time before dinner…amazing!

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