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Cooking with Kids: Fine Dining Boot Camp

20080407-finediningbootcamp.jpgWhen I heard the Georgian Room, Seattle's fanciest hotel restaurant, would be holding an etiquette class for 8- to 13-year-olds, I had one question for instructor (and Georgian Room maitre d') Tony D'Agostino: are any kids going to come to the class on their own accord?

Not likely, he admitted. "How many kids go, 'Mom, I want to go learn etiquette?'" D'Agostino said. "It's right up with the adult classes, though. You go around the table and ask, 'Why are you here?' The husbands go, 'My wife is bringing me.'"

So how do you keep a captive and potentially unruly audience entertained? In a word, snacks. And not those cucumber sandwiches, either. The tiered tea trays will hold scones and clotted cream, peanut butter sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches (crustless, of course), and chocolate chip cookies. To drink, kids will get a choice of hot chocolate with whipped cream and mini-marshmallows, or herb tea. This doesn't sound like much of a choice to me.

It's not all treats, however: a PowerPoint presentation will also be served. "At the end of the day we’re looking to develop our own clientele," said D'Agostino. The big challenge, it seems to me, will be that some of the kids will be ready for, "this is the fish fork," while others will have trouble with, "don't throw fish."

In addition to the adult and kid classes, the Georgian has offered fine dining classes for high school students during prom season. Thanks to the urbane suaveness instilled by the class, prom-bound students will get lucky or their money back. Okay, not really.

About the author: Matthew Amster-Burton lives in Seattle. His work appears frequently in the Seattle Times and Seattle magazine. He also maintains the blog Roots and Grubs. His favorite food is pad Thai.

Youth Fine Dining Etiquette

Time: Sunday, May 4, 3:30pm
Place: The Georgian Room, Fairmont Olympic Hotel; 411 University Street, Seattle (map)
Info: Ages 8-13; Kids $25, accompanying parents $39 (children must be accompanied)
Reservations: 206-621-7889

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