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Kids are a source of inspiration for me and they motivate me to keep moving forward

Updated: Apr 8

I'm not sure if many of you are aware, but for a few years, I have been teaching plant-based healthy cooking at one of the International Schools in Macau. I find this job to be both challenging and rewarding, as I am constantly faced with the task of teaching young children about plant-based cuisine and answering their many questions. However, the satisfaction I get from seeing my students enjoy themselves while cooking, experimenting with ingredients, and finally tasting their creations is unparalleled.

I am currently working with a group of young kids aged 9 to 12. I am really impressed by some of them, who show a great passion for cooking and can handle kitchen tools with ease. These kids have willingly opted to attend my plant-based cooking class without any pressure from their parents. It's great to see that they understand the importance of cooking and plant-based cooking.

I have observed there are some other children enrolled by their parents in my cooking classes. Initially, most of these children tend to be introverted and not very forthcoming about their kitchen experiences. However, I have come to realize that the transformative power of cooking can change lives and attitudes. After just one class, students become more enthusiastic, confident, and innovative in the kitchen.

I have had many wonderful experiences with kids in the kitchen, but there is one particular memory that always touches my heart. It makes me reflect on how fortunate we would be if these children grow up to become the next generation of entrepreneurs, managers, chefs, marketers, sustainability advocates or content creators.

During a day of learning about Italian plant-based cuisine, the students and I made our own fresh pasta in the kitchen. While discussing which sauce recipe to use with our handmade pasta, one of the students asked me if I owned a restaurant. She expressed her desire to visit my restaurant with her family, knowing that the food would always be delicious. She was confident that her family would love my menu and that she could convince them to have dinner there every night. I regretfully informed her that I do not own a restaurant, although I would like to.

This sparked a series of questions from the students, such as "why not?", "what's the problem?", and "how come?". It's difficult to explain to them that plant-based cooking isn't widely promoted in Macau, and this makes it an unsuitable market for opening a restaurant.  

At that moment, they might be confused, thinking that we learn something good in the kitchen, something that should be promoted and eaten regularly. The truth is, we all in that kitchen believe in what we are doing, and we enjoy all the dishes without necessarily following a vegan, plant-based, or any specific diet. We all in the kitchen enjoy these dishes without thinking they are full of plants and veggies. We enjoy them as regular food. Sometimes, we forget that the food we cook and eat is vegan or plant-based. We react to it like regular food and enjoy every moment of the ingredients, colors, and taste.

During the discussion, one of the students revealed that he knew the reason behind not opening a restaurant. He had overheard his parents talking about it. Just as I looked at him in surprise, he quickly explained that he understood that the cost of running a restaurant is high and the rent is expensive. However, before I could react, the solution came quite fast: "Let's open our own restaurant together!"

Everyone was excited about our new business venture and the kids started making a plan. To my surprise, everyone wanted to work at the restaurant, and they had already chosen their preferred roles: one student wanted to be the security, another the cashier, another the waiter, another the chef, and so on.  All of them fit into the restaurant with great responsibility and such different jobs. I was surprised to see them so organized. I enjoyed their plan and dream, and how seriously they took all the discussions.

At that moment, a lot of feelings came true to my heart. I was happy to see them so enthusiastic about their new business, proud because I realized that my cooking class inspired them to dream of having a business, satisfied because my delicious and healthy recipes made them think of this business, but also melancholic because I dreamt of the business that they proposed.

It would be the perfect restaurant where everyone worked with passion, believing in the business and having the same goal: making people happy with their services and delicious food.

It has been a few weeks since this story, but I still dream of this restaurant with all the kids working there. I can picture their happy faces and enthusiastic energy. This experience has taught me that food and cooking have the power to bring people together, making them not only happy and healthy but also united in their aspirations.

Let's keep dreaming!

Are you curious about how we make fresh pasta?

If you are curious about how we make fresh pasta, I am happy to share my easy recipe with you!


  • 1/4 cup water, ( you might need a little more) 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • homemade pesto


  • In a small jug, whisk together the water and the olive oil and set aside.

  • Place the flour in a mound on a large, flat surface. Make a well in the center of the flour.

  • Slowly add some of the water and mix into the center of the flour. Using a light hand, gently bring the flour into the center of the well using your fingertips

  • Keep adding more water and incorporating the flour until all the flour has been absorbed. This will be a messy process, but it is well worth it!

  • Once the dough starts to form, combine it with your palms and knead it into a smooth dough. This will take roughly 5 minutes. Note: If your dough is dry, you can add a little water to bring it together.

  • When the dough forms a ball, cover it and let it rest for 10 min.

  • Flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll one ball of dough at a time into a large, thin sheet. I don't give dimensions for this part as they vary, but my one note would be to get it as thin as possible—like paper thin.

  • Once the dough has been rolled out, fold it over itself several times. Depending on the pasta you are making, cut the roll of pasta into strips roughly 1/4 inch thick. Then, dust some flour over the sliced strips of dough and unravel them to reveal your fresh pasta! Repeat this process with the remaining dough.

  • Set cut pasta aside on a tray and leave out at room temperature to cook off or cover and place in the fridge to be cooked later

To Cook Pasta: 

  • Place a medium pot over medium-high heat and boil 4 cups of water with one spoon of oil. 

  • Once the water is boiling salt it and place the fresh pasta in the water. Add the pasta and allow to cook for roughly 2 minutes or until tender. 

  • When the pasta floats to the top of the pot, it is ready. 

  • Strain the water off the pasta and serve as desired

NOTE: If you're looking for an easy homemade pesto recipe for your pasta, check out my delicious recipe here.

If you make this recipe, please snap a photo and tag @andreea.plantbasedchef on Instagram! I would love it if you would leave a comment below.

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