Julia Kilty isn't one to try to new foods, but when Chef Mark Zedella suggested tasting Swiss chard straight from the garden, she agreed.

Julia Kilty isn't one to try to new foods, but when Chef Mark Zedella suggested tasting Swiss chard straight from the garden, she agreed.

The 7-year-old liked it well enough to take a bite of the kale he offered moments later.

Zedella coaxed a number of young eaters to sample several new foods during a kids' cooking class at Stratford Ecological Center last month.

The class at the educational, organic farmin Delaware was designed to get kids excited about eating a wide variety of colorful, healthy foods.

"I want to expose kids to a lot of different vegetables," said Zedella who opened the class with a story about a picky eater. After reading "Bread and Jam for Frances" by Russell Hoban, Zedella confessed to the children that he didn't always eat all of his vegetables

"I was like Frances," said Zedella, a personal chef who owns The Duke of Fork Personal Chef Service."There were a lot of foods I didn't like because I didn't try them."

Kilty's mother, Peggy, could not believe how fruitful (or maybe veggie-ful) Zedella's efforts were.

"I just texted my husband that pigs must be flying because she's eating all these new things," Powell resident said.

The story and the walk through Stratford's garden made an impression on the kids.They eagerly picked pieces of lettuce from the garden when Zedella told them they were a key ingredient in the dish they were making.

Using the fresh greens, the kids assembled lettuce wraps with vegetables Zedella had pre-cut. The kids filled their wraps and then made guacamole to dress them.

When the wraps were done, Rich Edwards of Delaware asked his son how it tasted.

Seven-year-old Chase barely looked up from his plate.

"Good," he said before taking another big bite.



*3 avocados
*2 tomatoes
*2 tablespoons red onion, diced
*2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
*juice of one-half of a lime
*pinch of salt


1. Grown-up: Cut avocados and remove the pit.

2. Kid with grown-up help: Scoop out the flesh.

3. Kid: Mash the avocado with a wooden spoon or fork, leaving a few small chunks.

4. Kid with grown-up help: Dice the tomatoes and remove the seeds.

5. Kid with grown-up help: Dice the red onion.

6. Kid with grown-up help: Chop the cilantro.

7. Kid: Mix the ingredients together. Squeeze the lime onto mixture and stir.



*single, washed and spun- or patted-dry leaves of lettuce
*a variety of diced raw vegetables
*optional: cooked black beans or rice


1. Kid: Place a large lettuce leaf on a plate.

2. Kid with grown-up help: Place a variety of diced vegetables onto the center of the leaf. (Zedella suggests cucumbers, carrots and purple cabbage. He also adds black beans.)

3. Kid: Add the guacamole.

4. Kid: Fold the bottom of the lettuce up and the two sides in. Roll the folded lettuce like a burrito.