Will Tomeo is not your run-of-the-mill young chef.
The 14-year-old sophomore at Healy’s Tri-Valley School is fascinated by technology and he likes to cook. Combining those two passions led him to create his new website www.cubcook.org.
The website focuses on providing easy-to-follow, healthy recipes for kids, often incorporating unique Alaska ingredients. “The goal of the site is to get kids involved in the kitchen and spread the joy that surrounds cooking and food,” according to his mother, Martha Tomeo.
It is called CubCook: Simple, healthy and tasty food for kid cooks.
“I’ve been cooking a lot for a couple years now,” Will Tomeo said. When he earned membership with the National Honor Society, he decided this culinary webpage would be a good project to pursue, as part of joining that group.
The National Honor Society is a national organization for high school students, with chapters in high schools nationwide. Selection is based on scholarship, leadership, service and character. Members are asked to participate in service projects that benefit the school or community.
“I felt like I needed to do something,” he said.
Since he loves science and technology, he approaches cooking in a very scientific manner. At the same time, he wants cooking to be fun.
Although he is only 14 years old, he already has wonderful childhood memories of cooking with his parents. Food was always fun, he said. And he wants to share that experience with others.
Hence, there is a section on the webpage encouraging young chefs to be creative with food, especially in the presentation of it.
“The visual is just as much of the experience as the taste,” the webpage says. “Make your own edible art piece like these.”
The webpage posts some examples — sandwiches turned into butterflies, slices of cantaloupe forming a funny face on the plate, and more.
His recipes are kid-friendly, yet science is ever present.
“I use the science behind it to know what will work in terms of flavor profiles and bonding,” he said. “I make sure I balance the proteins.
“I like to experiment by applying flavor combinations and proper nutrient structures,” he said. “Things like the nice sweet and smoky cut of grilled pineapple on salmon or the great salty crunch of a pickle in a sandwich are my favorite. It’s satisfying to create things by mixing ingredients together.
“Cooking is a form of therapeutic art and I love it,” he added. “The scientific aspect also helps. You just simply apply proper ratios of macros for the right type of cooking reaction. Things like cornstarch or flour can thicken liquids, sugar can be used to feed crucial bacteria and even baking powder can be used to make fluffier eggs.”
He’s considering adding some new tutorials about spices, different kinds of meats, and working with yeast, all of which he described as fundamentals for cooking.
When he started this project, he depended on his parents and older sister to be his sounding and tasting board. With the help of his mother, he also developed a focus group made up of local families, who tested his recipes before he posted them.
Recipes include Zucchini Canoes, Green Noodles & Salm, Munchiladas, Bell Bombs, Mighty Mac & Squash and Garden Cakes.
Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.