Hi! I'm Maria, and I'm the Director of The Budding Chef's Club.

I was born in a small village in the Puglia region of Southern Italy, before moving to Worthing at the age of 6. 

Some of my earliest memories are of watching my Grandmother kneading dough every morning to bake that day's loaf of bread, or hand-making her own cheese, olive oil, butter, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta to name just a few. I found it fascinating to watch ingredients come together to make something else. That fascination continued to spark as I grew up in Worthing, surrounded by an ever-increasing family. The heart of our family home really was in the kitchen, and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking with my Mum, learning from her and gaining confidence in my own abilities.

One of my favourite things about moving into my own home, was the ability to experiment more with food. Moving away from the comfort of the traditional Italian food I knew so well, and enjoying the discovery of different food groups, allowed me to broaden my palate and skills further.

After becoming a mother myself, I was able to experience the joy of cooking with my own children. I found that they were much more inclined to eat something they had helped to make, and I enjoyed sharing in their sense of achievement when they proudly tasted what they had made. My passion for food has luckily continued to filter down the generations, first through my children, and now through my grandchildren.

I believe that with gentle encouragement, small class sizes, nurturing staff, time and space to practice, each club member will become a confident chef equipped with skills that last a lifetime. 

Hello, I'm Hannah, I'm Maria's eldest daughter and a senior club leader at The Budding Chef's Club.

I have fond memories of sitting on our kitchen worktop watching my Mum cook, learning, absorbing and chatting away whilst she made delicious meal after delicious meal. It didn't take me long to get involved, and soon Saturday afternoons became a weekly pizza making routine with the whole family getting involved, and Sundays were all about picking the best looking apples from our trees to make apple crumble whilst our roast dinner was filling the house with amazing smells.

I've always had a passion for food, coming from a family where we always came together over a meal, it would be impossible not to be! My 'thing' is really science. I love it, and am so enthusiastic about children getting involved in science from an early age. 

Cooking is a wonderful way to introduce some of the practical applications of science, but without it being a 'lesson'. Thinking about what makes yeast grow and why, is a great way to learn about fermentation - but with a tasty loaf of bread or a pizza to show for it. Using various kitchen equipment and utensils allows us to investigate conduction, absorption, insulation. Ingredients can be used to look at chemical reactions, changes in pH, changes in state (solid, liquid, gas)... The possibilities are endless! I love creating experiments and investigations which relate to each week's recipe, and I hope my passion for science is infectious and encourages children to look at science as a fun, immersive and varied subject.

Hi guys, I'm Joe, and I'm Hannah's eldest child and Maria's eldest Grandchild! I'm also a club leader at The Budding Chef's Club.

Coming from my family background, it's probably no surprise that I love cooking! 

I was really excited to get involved with this club, it combines food and maths, in a really clever way. Maths was one of my best subjects at school, and it's exciting to be involved in encouraging children to use maths in a way that directly relates to real life.

By children measuring their own ingredients out, they learn about weights, measures, volume and capacity. We mix things up a little, so they have to think about converting weights and measures too, which encourages mental maths, addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. 

Fractions are so much more fun when thought about in terms of food - and the visual representation of these can really consolidate children's understanding of them.

The scope for maths in cooking is vast, and I'm really happy to be a part of this club, passing on my knowledge and skills to all the children who come to our club.