Little chefs ready for gnocchi at Tocal Field Days

Pumped for pesto: Charles and Maggie Dunlop of East Maitland will be among the young cooks at Tocal. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Pumped for pesto: Charles and Maggie Dunlop of East Maitland will be among the young cooks at Tocal. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

It’s a chance to dress up, get to know local produce and have a lot of fun making gnocchi.

The junior cooking classes at Tocal Field Days is the place to be for any budding chef.

Slow Food Hunter Valley’s Anne Kelly will show three groups of children how to make the dish – and create a herb pesto to put on top.

The free classes are scheduled for 10am, 11am and 1pm on May 6 in the Good Food and Wine Hall. 

“Any kid can do it, it’s just flour and potato to make the gnocchi dough and then you cut it and boil it. ” she said. 

“The pesto is very easy too – you just mix it up in the whizzer.

“It’s a hands-on experience where kids can engage with their food – they can feel it, work with it and taste it. It’s the whole sensory experience for them.”

The usual basil pesto will be put aside in favour of a parsley pesto – a herb that is thriving in the city. 

“It’s a bit different to the basil pesto, parsley is in season at the moment and we have a lot of it so I thought why not make use of it,” Ms Kelly said. 

 Each class can cater for 10 children. The class is free and can be booked at the stand on the day.

High school students entering the Bake or Burn cooking competition will cook a dish, with fish as the hero ingredient, in front of a live audience. 

The heats start at 10am on Friday and the final will take place at 1.30pm with the winner announced at 2pm.

Fish is the theme at this year’s event and Slow Food Hunter Valley will be selling fish pies – made with sustainably sourced fish – over the three days.

There will also be Fish Tales with the local fishing industry between 10am and 3pm on Saturday. These talks, which will happen every hour on the hour, will cover how to fish and why fishing sustainably is important.

Ever thought of using fish compost in the garden? Tips to master this technique will be on offer outside the Good Food and Wine Hall. 

Tocal Field Days is the Hunter’s largest agriculture event and is held at Tocal College on May 4,5 and 6.

For more information about the event visit www.tocalfielddays.com