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Half Pint Chefs: Rock Hill program teaches kids kitchen basics

Half Pint Chefs, led by chef Cam Grimstead, teaches young kids kitchen basics while promoting social activity with their community.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Chef Cam Grimstead is preparing to teach a cooking class, but his students aren't your typical cooks. They're kids! 

Grimstead is leading a group of 15 kids in Half Pint Chefs, a class hosted by Community Hype, a local community-driven business that's based on getting kids back outside. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept a lot of people away from each other the last few years. That's why Danielle Pitts founded Community Hype, to get people back outside and together. Pitts recently relocated to the Rock Hill area from Spartanburg, where she felt the project did well. 

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The Half Pints Chef Program is her first event in the Charlotte region. 

"This is basically a way for our younger kids to learn how to prepare meals using a lot of fresh, all-natural ingredients from scratch for an affordable rate," Pitts said. 

Grimstead recently earned his degree from the University of Hawaii and the goal is to take his culinary expertise and teach the next generation. 

"I was in the kitchen with my mom helping her with whatever meal she wanted to make," Grimstead said. "I might as well give them the same opportunity."

Each student in the program gets an official chef's apron, hat and a kit. At that point, they're all set for the five-week program. All of the chefs will be taught the basics, like growing and caring for fresh herbs. At the same time, they'll learn about the health benefits of what they're growing. 

One of the first things the kids got to cook is pizza. Grimstead allowed his students to customize their pizzas using different sauces and made-from-scratch dough. 

For parents like Ashley Holmes, Half Pint Chefs is an opportunity for their kids to find something to do that isn't the typical activities like gymnastics and dance. 

Credit: WCNC Charlotte
Students at Half Pint Chefs learn basic cooking skills while fostering a passion for culinary excellence.

"We want to be able to give them an opportunity, teach them what they may not know and answer the questions they have," Pitts said. 

Both Pitts and Grimstead hope to give people in their community a hands-on experience that will help them know their neighbors and have fun. 

"A fun experience. Another outlet besides electronics and if they like cooking, turn it into a passion," Grimstead said. 

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