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Who’s making dinner? Your teen

André, 15, is our stylist Rita’s son. He likes to cook, but doesn’t so often. He can’t find what he needs in the kitchen, stresses about burnt results and doesn’t know how to make some foods. So we invited him into the lab to test out our tips to get teens to stop worrying and start cooking.

Tip 1 - Let your teen find some recipes. Then make the final call together based on the ingredients and everyone’s comfort levels. André and Rita chose an easy salmon pasta. He wouldn’t be stressed about forgetting food in the oven, and mom wouldn’t have to buy anything out of the ordinary.

Tip 2 - Prep together. We had Rita clearly set out the recipe’s necessary food and tools, so he wouldn’t have to search for things. “It worries me that I would forget the frying pan if I didn’t ask,” he says. André threw in a timer to help himself keep better track of time (no burnt food!). And because he gets stressed about ending up with food that doesn’t taste good, we had some back-up meatballs on hand.

I like to try foods even if I don’t know what they are. It’s the experience of discovering something that will be good or bad.
André, cook in the making

Tip 3 - Make the recipe doable. We helped Rita rework the creamy salmon pasta recipe. We broke it into simpler steps, so it’s easier to remember what comes when (and he doesn’t have to ask mom). Think about what may confuse your teen like conversions, methods or specific vocabulary. Go through it together or use sticky notes, photos or whatever tech tool is best and make a cheat sheet of sorts if that helps.

Tip 4 - Disappear, sort of. “I get stressed if there are a lot of people involved,” André says. We had mom to hang around in case he had questions but asked her not to interject with any advice.

André says the easiest part was cutting the onion and garlic. He didn’t burn the food, but he did burn his hands a little! At one point, he grabbed a hot pot without pot holders. “I grabbed some towels and the pot,” he says. “I regretted it instantly.” That’s one way to learn, right? We’ve all been there...

Final tip - We encouraged mom and son to share their thoughts about the dish while they ate. “My big lesson for next time is to add more salt,” André reflects. “Other than that, it was pretty good actually.” Mom says the pasta was perfect and agrees about the salt. And the overall experience? “I was surprised by the skills he has, like slicing the garlic. He knows more than I give him credit for. He seemed much more confident, which is the whole point!”

Each time I cook, I always get more motivated for next time.
André, cook in the making

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by

Interior designer: Rita Mestre
Photographer: Daniel Wester
Writer: Marissa Frayer

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