Young Chefs’ Club “Say Cheese” Review – November 2019


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Young Chef's Club November 2019 box unopened

Young Chef’s Club (ages 5 and up) is a monthly subscription box from America’s Test Kitchen that focuses on the intersection of food and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). The team of editors, cooks, and educators at ATK combine their scientific know-how and rigorous testing to create meaningful and empowered experiences in the kitchen.

Young Chef's Club November 2019 tissue paper

Box themes are different every month and will remain a surprise for kids, while grown-ups will receive shopping lists ahead of time via email. Themes will vary from specific ingredients, cooking techniques, and scientific subjects, to cuisines and types of food. According to Young Chefs’ Club, themes will never repeat.

Young Chef's Club November 2019 box opened

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Young Chef's Club November 2019 all items

About Young Chefs’ Club

The Subscription Box: Young Chefs’ Club

The Cost: $24.99 + free shipping. Save with longer commitments

The Products: Recipe cards, hands-on experiment cards, kitchen technique cards, “Make It Your Way” recipe challenge, achievement button, cooking tool or recipe ingredient(s), plus other fun activities: games, puzzles, taste tests, art projects, and more. Also, as a member, you’ll additionally receive access to the digital library of recipes, activities, videos, and fun quizzes for kids.

Ships to: The U.S. only

Young Chefs’ Club “Say Cheese” November 2019 Review

My family LOVES America’s Test Kitchen and cooking together, so we can’t wait to see what we received this month!

Young Chef's Club November 2019 letter

First up is this letter welcoming us to the club, along with theme information, and additional online content for us to check out.

Note: After checking out the website, they have TONS of extra recipes and activities – be sure to take a look!

Young Chef's Club November 2019 shopping list

Here we have our shopping list. No food comes with this subscription, so each month they send a list of the ingredients you need to purchase to create each recipe. I read on their website we are supposed to receive an email about a week before we receive our box so we can have our ingredients on hand, but I did not receive that email. I also was a little bummed because they list the ingredients needed, but didn’t mention the need for cheesecloth. In a hurry I opened the box and snapped a quick picture of the ingredient list and headed to town, only to find out I needed cheesecloth for the ricotta cheese recipe. Thankfully my grandma had some!

Young Chef's Club November 2019 pin

Achievement Button

Here we have the monthly achievement button. This pin is about the size of a nickel and follows the cheese theme of the box. Hank was awarded last month’s achievement button, so Charlie received this one.

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    Goldfish Cracker Cutter

    One of this month’s recipes is to make our very own homemade goldfish crackers. To make them look authentic, we received this cute fish cutter.

    Young Chef's Club November 2019 blind fold

    America’s Test Kitchen Kids Blindfold

    As you will see below, one of our experiments involves a blind taste test. To be sure there was no cheating we were sent this authentic blindfold!

    Young Chef's Club November 2019 stickers

    Cheese Stickers

    Aren’t these stickers cute? I love the fact that all of these stickers adhere to the “cheese” theme! My kids love using stickers to create pictures, and were very happy this sheet had 12, so each boy received 6!

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      “Say Cheese” Game

      How fun is this cheese game?! It is played exactly like “Go Fish” except you are trying to match cheeses into pairs. We had a lot of fun learning how to pronounce different names of cheeses and fun facts; did you know Taleggio is great at melting and smells like feet?!

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        Make It Your Way Cheese Challenge

        Each month, we receive a “Make It Your Way Challenge” card, and this month it’s all about creating a cheese and cracker pairing. They give you some ideas for brainstorming on the back, including bases for your cheese, and extras such as pickles! You can also take photos of your creation and tag them with the #atkkids on social media, or send them to [email protected]!

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          Technique Card

          Each month we also receive a technique card. This month they sent us helpful hints for grating and shredding cheese. I really liked the tip for putting softer cheeses such as mozzarella in the freezer for 30 minutes before your shred it so it doesn’t smoosh! I have to admit, I did not grate my cheese by hand. I have a food processor with a cheese grating plate that works wonders!

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            Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese Recipe 

            I love me some macaroni and cheese, so I couldn’t wait to try this recipe out. Check out our experience below to see how it turned out!

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 adding milk

            First, we added the milk.

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 adding water

            Next was the water.

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 hank sitrring

            Once it starts boiling, you add the noodles. I have never boiled my noodles in a milk mixture before- will this be a game-changer?!

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 boiling noodles

            The noodles are almost done!

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 hand shredding cheese

            While the noodles are cooking, Hank was busy tearing the cheese slices into small pieces. They note in the recipe to not use “singles” because it will make the sauce too thick, so we went ahead and bought our American cheese from the deli counter.

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 food processor

            I love my food processor! It’s so much easier than grating by hand!

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 mixing in cheese

            After you add the American cheese, you take it off the burner and add the cheddar cheese and cover for 5 minutes. It turned out so melty and creamy!

            Young Chef's Club November 2019 yummy macaroni

            What were the results?! 2 thumbs up! You could definitely taste the extra sharp cheddar cheese, but it was very well balanced with the American cheese. My kids were big fans, and we will definitely be making this again!

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              DIY Ricotta Cheese Recipe

              Have you ever made homemade ricotta cheese? I hadn’t before receiving this box, but I have to say it was pretty easy and fun! Check out the steps to do it below!

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 ricotta cheese ingredients

              To make ricotta cheese, you need whole milk, salt, vinegar, cheesecloth, and a thermometer.

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 cheesecloth prep

              Like I said above, the shopping list didn’t include cheesecloth, so thankfully my grandma lives right next door and had some on hand! We lined our strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth and placed it in the sink.

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 pouring in milk

              My little helper then poured in 8 cups of pasteurized whole milk.

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 adding salt

              Our next step was to add the salt.

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 mixing milk

              As it cooked over medium-high heat, we stirred, and stirred, and stirred…

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 ricotta temping

              Until it reached 185 degrees. This took about 15 minutes. (Charlie’s arm was TIRED!)

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 separating curds and whey

              We then added the vinegar and stirred for another 15 seconds. See how fast it clumps?! After the 15 seconds, you need to let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes so the curds and whey separate.

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 in cheesecloth

              We then carefully poured the mixture into the cheesecloth and let it sit for about a minute.

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 ricotta

              After it strained for a minute, we carefully transferred it to a bowl to cool at room temperature. (This took about 30 minutes)

              Young Chef's Club November 2019 finished ricotta cheese

              Once it was cooled, we covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours. While I thought it was pretty good, Charlie was not a fan. The back of the recipe suggests spreading it on toast with berries and honey. I had no berries, so I decided to go for a savory dish, and add it to my lasagna for supper. My husband did say that this was the best lasagna he’s ever had, and wanted to know what I did differently! So I would call that a win!

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                Cheddar Fish Cracker Recipe

                My kids love crackers and we are always on the lookout for lunch pail treats, so we couldn’t wait to whip a batch of these up! Check out our results below!

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 ready to start goldfish

                To create these adorable little fishes, you first have to line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 mixing all goldfish ingredients

                Next, you add cheese, flour, cornstarch, and salt into the food processor and mix.

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 adding butter to goldfish

                Add some chilled butter… and a little bit of water.

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 kneading dough

                Then knead for about 20 seconds on a floured surface. (I love my pastry board/cloth- it makes cleanup a breeze!)

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 charlie rolling out

                Next, you roll out the dough to 1/8″ thick.

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 rolling out

                Charlie did pretty good!

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 charlie cutting out

                The best part: using the fish cutter!!!

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 goldfish prebake

                Line up your school of fish on the pan, making sure they don’t touch and put them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. (This helps them keep their fish shape.)

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 goldfish baked

                Pull them out of the refrigerator and immediately put then in the 350 F oven for 14-16 minutes, and voila you have your own fish crackers!

                Young Chef's Club November 2019 bag of goldfish

                After they fully cooled, Charlie bagged them up for lunch treats! (After eating half of them of course!)

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                  Blind Taste Test: Cheddar Cheese

                  Check out this experiment! Charlie and Hank couldn’t wait to try out the blindfold and do the taste test. They even coaxed great-grandma into doing the taste test when she brought over the cheesecloth! Check out the kids’ reactions below.

                  Young Chef's Club November 2019 which one is better?

                  Here is the set up: extra-sharp cheddar versus mild cheddar…who will come out on top?!

                  Young Chef's Club November 2019 taste test charlie

                  If you can’t tell by this picture, Charlie was NOT a fan of the extra-sharp cheddar cheese. He spit it right out. I don’t think he will be doing any blind taste testing anytime soon. He definitely is a mild cheddar kind of guy!

                  Young Chef's Club November 2019 taste test hank

                  While he didn’t spit out the cheese, Hank didn’t care for the extra-sharp cheddar cheese either, and could definitely tell the difference between the two. We found the information on the back of the card to be very interesting, in that they didn’t know mild cheddar cheese is only aged for 2-3 months, while extra-sharp cheddar is aged for a year or more. I love the science behind the aging process, and really appreciate the detail they go into to teach us about it! FYI- great-grandma preferred the extra-sharp cheddar!

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                    Experiment Card: The Science of Stretchy Cheese

                    We received another experiment this month, and this one involved grilled cheese sandwiches and stretchability! Which cheese stretched the furthest? Find out below!

                    Young Chef's Club November 2019 just mozz

                    For this experiment, we were to make one grilled cheese sandwich with shredded mozzarella cheese…

                    Young Chef's Club November 2019 just cheddar

                    And one with shredded cheddar cheese.

                    Young Chef's Club November 2019 cheddar stretching

                    We then laid out a ruler and stretched the sandwiches to see which cheese could stretch the furthest without breaking.

                    Young Chef's Club November 2019 mozz wins!

                    The mozzarella was the clear winner! And it’s all because of the way it’s made. The curds of mozzarella are stretched and pulled over and over again, so the proteins form very straight lines. When they are heated, they loosen up and form long strings. Did you know there was so much science in cheese making?! It’s so much fun!

                    Young Chef's Club November 2019 soup and sandwiches

                    No grilled cheese sandwich is complete without tomato soup! Our experiment was fun, educational, and delicious!

                    The Verdict: This is the second month I have reviewed  Young Chefs’ Club and while we had a lot of fun creating the recipes, doing the experiments, and learning about new techniques, I feel there is a lot of room for improvement. Honestly, for $24.99 a box, I am expecting more than double the amount of physical items in the box. While the recipes were tasty, and ones that I will be re-creating in the future, the ingredients were pretty spendy. Hank was also disappointed they didn’t include a craft in this box like last time. The website has a lot of really great recipes and information, but I expected to see more in the box itself. This box could be so cool; I hope they amp it up in the future!

                    To Wrap Up:

                    Can you still get this box if you sign up today? You’ll likely receive the December box. Auto-renewal billing occurs on the 15th of the month prior to the box ship date. All memberships will auto-renew at the end of the monthly, six-month, or 12-month term. Boxes will ship on the fourth business day of each month and should arrive within a week or two.

                    Value Breakdown: This box is $24.99 a month (including shipping). I received 3 recipe cards, 2 experiment cards, a technique card, a challenge card, a card game, stickers, achievement pin, fish cookie cutter, blindfold, and shopping list, which would equal out to $1.92 a piece. Also included in this price is online content. While I feel it is a very well themed box with lots of fun activities, I find it very overpriced.

                    Check out our other Young Chefs’ Club review and the best kids subscription boxes of 2019!

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                    Written by Becca Peterson

                    Becca Peterson

                    While I am taking a time-out from being a Clinical Laboratory Scientist, I am currently staying at home with my 2 sweet boys! My first subscription was Julep thanks to happening upon the MSA website, and it all went downhill from there! I have subscribed to Ipsy, Boxycharm, Degustabox, Julep, Graze, Bluum, Walmart, and more because I love a good surprise! I truly am a subscription addict!

                    Posted in Subscription Boxes for Kids, Young Chefs' Club Reviews| Tags: young chefs club | 8 comments

                    8 Comments

                    1. Agree with everyone that this is wya overpriced. I will never make ricotta again – I love it so much making it at home!!! Although, I think this recipe was harder than it needed to be. I have never needed to use a thermometer. I use both milk and cream, bring to boil, then add vinegar or lemon juice (if making something savory, I use white vinegar. If sweet, I use lemon juice). My favorite way to eat ricotta is drizzled in honey with a bit of cinnamon and/or turbinado sugar or maple sugar. It is the best breakfast ever and so ridiculously creamy. Yum – I think I need to go an make some now!

                    2. We get this box too and my kids really, really love it. Honestly, I would have been fine with the pricing this month if it had just included the cheesecloth. I was not thrilled with having to buy it myself!

                    3. I love the idea of this, but agree it’s way overpriced. Lower the price by $10 and include an extra physical item and I’d be tempted to try it out.

                    4. This is probably the cutest review ever! I don’t have kids but I do love cheese so I had to read it. For me, I know I am far too lazy to put together the information and activities, so for me there would be added value in someone doing that for me. I’ve been known to pay a lot more for a cheesy experience! But, I can see how it would be disappointing to get so few “physical” items and having to shell out money for supplies. Still, if I had kids, I would splurge on a sub like this when the theme fit my likes

                    5. Wow wow wow, that price is INSANE for what you get 😳

                    6. I don’t get how overpriced this is. Am I missing something?

                      • Sadly Lynda, you aren’t missing a thing- I am so disappointed!

                        • 24 dollars for cards you can google. Then, you still need to buy everything. Wow.

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