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Learning to Cook, Krinsky Style

By Marilyn Odesser Torpey

Remember when the most exciting thing about summer camp cuisine was trying to guess the true identity of the day's mystery meat? Not so for the teens who will soon converge at Bryn Mawr College for the Julian Krinsky/Canyon Ranch Young Adult Summer Program. Between rock climbing, aqua aerobics and kickboxing, the happy campers will refuel their bodies-and refine their taste buds-with menus developed by Scott Uehlein, who pleases some of the pickiest palates in the world as executive chef at the famous Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson, Arizona.

Fledgling foodies can do more than sample Uehlein's better burgers, sassy salsas, yummy Yukon Gold oven fries and pizzazzy grilled pizzas. The 13- to 17-year-old campers can learn to make these and other slimmed down, nutritionally sound, can't-tell-the-difference versions of their favorite foods.

"We want teenagers to understand that healthful eating isn't about dieting and denial," says Tina Krinsky of Radnor, who owns and operates the camp with her husband, Julian. "It's about making choices."

Introduced last year, the program-the brainchild of the Krinskys and Enid and Mel Zuckerman, founders of the two Canyon Ranch Health Resorts in Tucson and Lenox in the Berkshires of Massachusetts-was designed to offer the authentic Canyon Ranch experience with a teen twist. According to Tina Krinsky, it is the only program of its kind.

For the residential and day camp's on-campus dining services (directed by Bryn Mawr College Wyndam Alumnae House chef Bob Hudaka) and cooking classes (headed by Kristin Albertson Cooking School in Wynnewood), Uehlein adapted some of the most popular recipes from his spa menus.

"We don't dumb down the menus for these young diners" says Uehlein. "They get the same turkey meatloaf and macaroni and cheese that keep our adult guests coming back to Canyon Ranch year after year. We also found, through our experience with the program last year, that these kids are really interested in food and trying new things. Besides, I test many of my recipes on my own two daughters who, at ages seven and nine, are the most brutally honest food critics you'll ever find.

Campers also learn the secrets of smart supermarket shopping, how to decipher food label lingo, and the arts of savvy snacking and sports nutrition. Classes cover everything from equipment safety and proper sanitation to making pasta from scratch.

Tina Krinsky points out that the young chefs are often surprised at the luxurious textures and full flavors of the lightened-up versions of the homemade vanilla ice cream, crème brûlée and other dessert classics they learn to make.

"Kids from the non-cooking track are always poking their heads in the door and hanging around for leftovers," Albertson says. "It makes the culinary students especially proud when they can impress their friends."

The Julian Krinsky/Canyon Ranch Young Adult Summer Program is offered from June 22 to July 12 and again from July 13 to August 2 for $3,900 per three-week session. A day camp option is available for $1,300.

Aside from the Canyon Ranch-affiliated program, middle- and high-school students with any level of culinary curiosity can also sign up for cooking classes at the Julian Krinsky Enrichment Camp, two- or three-week sessions that will be offered this summer at Haverford and Cabrini Colleges.

Source: Main Line Today - June 2003

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