Our week-long camps are an intensive culinary experience chock-full of hands-on cooking classes in restaurants, farm harvests, camper cook-offs, blindfolded palate play…and so much more! Sprouts’ aspiring chefs will work alongside guest chefs with experiences at some of the hottest restaurants in the Bay Area such as Delfina, Slanted Door, Penrose, Boulevard, and Tartine Bakery!
Throughout the day, kids will visit different restaurants, markets, farms, and venues in the East Bay and San Francisco. Aspiring chefs can sign up for an East-Bay or SF-based week. For East Bay Camps, all drop offs and pick-ups will take place East Bay. For all SF camp weeks, drop-off’s and pick-ups will remain in SF. A typical day includes cooking with real chefs, reinforcing knife and safety skills through hands-on cooking, whipping up lunch and tasting our creations throughout the day. We will learn how to taste and smell our way through improvisational cooking as well as learn favorite recipes and dishes of our culinary friends. We will meet with farmers and artisans, and forge relationships with local chefs and purveyors.
Children 7-12 are welcome to apply as a camper, and teens ages 13-15 are encouraged to apply for our Junior Counselor (JC) positions, depending on the age range of the week. JC registration and payment is the same as campers. Up to two junior counselors are selected for each session to help serve as a liaison between the chef and the campers, and help with the more difficult techniques. Each week-long camp session will have 10-15 campers with a counselor ratio of 3:1. Classes are led by guest chefs, and assisted by food and nutrition-loving counselors, from UC Berkeley, Paris, and across the US!
3 weeks or more prior to the camp’s first day: 50% refund
Within 3 weeks of the camp’s first day: No refund available
Get 15% off your class! Company Matching Program!
Do you work for a company that offers an Donation Matching Program for their employees? If so, we can give you 15% off your class fee – it’s our way of saying thank you for taking the time and energy to submit the matching form. We know you’re busy! 60% of your camp-birthdayparty-afterschool-class fee is considered both a tax write-off and a donation to Sprouts!
Q: Will drop off and pick up location be the same?
A: Pick-up and drop-off will always be East Bay for East Bay weeks and SF-bound for SF camp weeks. The actual location, however, depends on the location of our first and last class, wherever it takes place. A letter will be emailed before the camp week, confirming drop off and pick-up locations of each day!
Q: What is an ideal camper?
A: While no prior experience is necessary, we favor aspiring chefs who have already participated in past classes. Community is key for us at Sprouts, and we want kids to build their skills through practice and repetition. Another very important factor is a demonstration of sincere interest for real foods and cooking. Our online camp application requires that each child answers a series of questions because it is important to us that all children attending our camps are motivated to cook, and eager to explore new foods.
Q: What does it mean if my child is wait-listed?
A: We want every child to be involved in our camps this summer! However, it’s incredibly important that each week of camp has a balance of genders, age ranges, skill levels, and scholarship recipients. We’ve got a tough job! We review each application, one by one, reading over each response of your child in order to make sure that each child will add to our camper diversity and bring an excitement for exploring new techniques and new foods! Our camper diversity has to be as colorful as the produce we are going to work with! If your child is wait-listed, however, it doesn’t mean that he or she won’t get in! There’s hope! Campers that are waitlisted because the session is full will be notified right away if another child has to forfeit their spot because of unforeseen circumstances.
Q: How many campers are there in each session?
A: Each camp session has about 10 to 15 kids. We decide the amount by the week’s lineup of restaurants and guest chefs, the demographics of the group, and the team for that week. We like to keep the counselor: aspiring chef ratio 1:3.
Q: What about payment, how does this work?
A: You register, apply and pay at the same time! We want to make your life as easy as possible. If for some reason, however, we decide not to accept a camper after review of their application, the payment will be refunded immediately, and in full.
Q: How much is each week-long session of camps?
A: $580 per week. This includes tasters throughout the day, lunch, and ingredients. The camp fee does not include bus and BART fees to and from restaurants. A significant portion of this camp fee goes directly to financial-based scholarships offered during camps and throughout the year, and goes to subsidize our Chef-In-Training Program for disadvantaged youth.
Q: If I need financial assistance, how do I apply for a scholarship?
A: As always, Sprouts is proud to offer scholarships to classes and camps throughout the entire year! This summer is no exception! In order to apply for a camp scholarship, you just gotta go to the Sprouts website and fill out the application. Please note that scholarships are given only to those that cannot otherwise afford to attend camps. Merit and financial need are a must and you will be asked to show financial documentation to confirm your need. Each scholarship application is reviewed case by case. It’s really important to us that ALL kids get a chance to learn the importance of nutritional, balanced eating through hands-on cooking. Your financial aid application will be reviewed within two weeks of its submission, starting April 1st.
Q: Why are the kids working with so many different chefs, restaurants, purveyors, and culinary guests each week?
A: We are convinced that the best way to truly learn how to cook sustainably and eat a balanced diet is to learn, hands-on, from chefs that have different ethnic backgrounds, individual cooking techniques and unique philosophies on nutrition and ingredients. In this way, each child will formulate their own food philosophy, develop their own techniques, and foster a general appreciation for variety.
Q: Will the campers be using public transportation during the camp day?
A: Yep! You betcha! We will use public transportation such as BART and buses. The price of public transportation is not included within the price of the camp, and children will be asked to bring along a Clipper Card each day. We will not have time to add value to cards, so it is imperative that you purchase and fill a Clipper card for your child before the camp week begins! We suggest adding at least $35 on the Clipper card so as to be sure to have more than enough value for the week. Our transportation coordinator will email all the parents in advance to confirm the transportation itinerary and estimated fees for each day.
Q: Will the kids be having lunch? Breakfast?
A: While we will not be serving breakfast, snacks throughout the day and lunch will be provided. After all, we will eat what we make! We like to keep a balance between sweets and savory dishes throughout the day. Not only is moderation an important lesson for the kids to learn, but we also have found that kids on a sugar rush is not very conducive to a smooth day (; We highly encourage all parents to send along healthy, easy-to-eat snacks along with their children for each camp day. We also strongly recommend that parents send along a natural drink such as water or natural fruit juice that they can sip on all day long. While we are cooking and tasting and sipping throughout the entire day, we find that every once in awhile, some campers don’t take to a new dishes or a certain ingredient here and there. For this reason among others, healthy, comfortable, and easy-to-eat snacks are the best way to keep your child energized and satisfied no matter the menu, the timing of a cooking class, or the activity’s theme.
Q: Do participants need prior cooking experience or skills?
A: All skill levels are welcome – we have a 1 to 3 ratio of counselors to kids so we can cater to their skill level! We are confident that we can match your aspiring chef’s skill level.
Q: Who are the counselors?
A: Food-loving, nutrition-focused students from UC Berkeley, French foodies flown in from Paris, and community members from all over! Our counselors are so enthusiastic about Sprouts and real foods that they are all donating their time to share their passion with your children! Many of the Berkeley students are currently majoring in nutrition while others are just passionate about the Slow Food movement. And lucky us! Because of our past programs and classes in France, we get to fly in counselors from the city of lights!
Q: What types of equipment will the kids be using?
A: Induction burners, stove-tops, pasta makers, knives, blenders… you name it, we use it. However, safety is our absolute, very first priority; our counselors will always be monitoring the safe use of our equipment and reinforcing basic cooking safety techniques.
Q: If my child has signed a waiver in the past for other classes, does he or she need to sign another one?
A: Yes, it’s important that your child has a signed waiver for the specified session before he or she can legally participate!
Q: Does my child need to bring anything to class?
A: Water bottles, healthy snacks, and a small tupperware (just in case your child has tasters left-over!) are all items that we highly recommend your child brings. In addition, just like a real chef, children are responsible for bringing their own chef’s kits to camp each day which consists of items such as: a labeled chef’s knife, an apron, a sharp paring knife, rags, 1 peeler, and 1 small cutting board. We strongly suggest that your child writes their name on anything they bring and keep track of their belongings. Unfortunately, Sprouts can not be responsible for any losses or theft. We also ask that each child brings a Clipper Card with them with at least $35 for the week. Optional items include: spending money in case your child wants to buy anything at the restaurants we are at and a notebook to record all the recipes and culinary techniques they learn!
Q: Do Junior counselors pay the same price as campers?
A: Yes. In terms of registration, selection, and payment, the Junior Counselors are treated the same as campers. However, during the camps, Junior Counselors are given more independence and special privileges, more leadership- oriented tasks, and have more one-on-one contact with the chefs as they serve as the liaison between the chef and the younger campers.
Q: In case of cancellation, what is Sprouts’ Summer camp refund policy?
A: Our cancellation policy is such that we refund 50% of any cancelled summer camp sessions up to 3 weeks before the camp session’s initial day. Within 3 weeks of the start of the camp, the camp fee is no longer refundable. You can, however, invite a friend to take the place of a cancelled spot.
Q: What if I have more questions?
A: If you would like to get a better feel of the camps’ organization, please feel free to email Katie at Katie@sproutscookingclub.org or reach her at (207) 233-2757