CELEBRITY cook Stefano de Pieri believes the time is ripe for Mallee kids to learn lessons that will carry them through life -- understanding food and the secrets of cooking.
He has teamed up with the Elliott Newspaper Group and its titles Sunraysia Daily, The Guardian and Gannawarra Times to produce an online cooking show for local students who are staying home from school due to the coronavirus crisis.
"I don't want to treat the kids like little kids, because kids are clever, so I want them to learn about ingredients, how they relate to where we live, and also teach them some simple cooking techniques that will carry them through life," he said.
"Cooking shouldn't be a chore, you can have a lot of fun with cooking, I obviously have all my life."
Stefano, who helped put Mildura on the map with his cooking show Gondola on the Murray, is currently filming a new show that will screen on SBS later in the year.
But his online video for the Sunraysia Daily is geared towards local families and young people during a tough time for the community.
"It's a bit of fun," he said.
"The most important thing is we teach kids how and what to eat, so they then know how to cook, and then they are not dependent," he said. "That way when they move out of home they won't rely on fast food or fast noodles, they will enjoy cooking and good food always. They become smarter.
"If they are inspired and learn, then there are millions of recipes they can just google and try."
In his first online video, which runs for just over five minutes, Stefano gives away the secret recipe of one of his famous sauces that can be used in a number of family dishes.
"The tomatoes in the Mallee are beautiful at the moment," he said. "It's a simple recipe and it makes a lot so you can freeze in containers and bring it out when you need to use on pizzas or in pasta."