The inaugural Cake Camp held this summer at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas invited children to receive hands-on training for the most important meal of the day—dessert.
Cooking classes are a fun way to get members interacting with club staff and facilities. The inaugural Cake Camp held this summer at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas invited children to the back of the house to receive hands-on training for the most important meal of the day—dessert.
General Manager Aaron Dawson and Executive Pastry Chef Chera Marco used to work together at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock, Ark., where they saw a successful cooking camp offered at Pulaski Technical College. The two decided to adapt the idea for Miramont’s younger members.
“We used a template [the college] had and then put our own twist on it,” Dawson says. “Even though the class was really a baking class, we called it Cake Camp—we thought it had a better ring to it.”
Working with Executive Chef Dan Capello, CEC, Miramont’s staff developed the concept, curriculum and marketing plan for the program over the course of four weeks. A time of year was selected for when the kitchen is not as busy as usual. The class was limited to 10 students, at a cost of $225 each, and sold out within four hours, Dawson says.
For the actual camp, children ages 10 through 17 were invited to spend four days at the club, arriving Monday, July 31 at 8 a.m. for breakfast, followed by kitchen training, and departing at 1:30 p.m. after lunch. The camp continued the following Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, requiring kids to attend each day for the week.
Children first gathered in the banquet kitchen for teaching and batter prep, and the batters were then taken to the main kitchen for baking. Desserts created included challah bread, Chera’s famous chocolate chip cookies, fruit tarts, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes and a drip cake.
Throughout the week, staff took pictures of the kids’ progress and posted them on Instagram. On the final day of camp, the junior chefs created a grand buffet and displayed all of their work from the week for friends and family to enjoy.
“The kids had a blast!” Dawson says. “Their parents got to see and taste their creations. All kids got to keep their chef jackets, and we also gave them a recipe book, pastry-decorating kit, and a water bottle.”
The inaugural event was so successful, a second camp was offered the following week, and the club will continue offering it every summer going forward. In fact, the kids might have some competition in the future, as adults even expressed interest in getting in on the fun.
“We limited the amount of guests to three people for the buffet,” Dawson says. “We will not limit this in the future. The more the merrier!”