Category Archives: Junior Chefs Academy

From Junior Chef to Pastry Chef

During this summer season of graduations, we had the opportunity to catch up with one of our former Junior Chefs Academy™ (JCA) students, Kinsey.  The first class she attended at The Culinary Center of Kansas City (CCKC) for our age 9-14 JCA students was cake decorating, and she loved it!  Later she tried an Asian cooking class, but quickly realized her passion was pastry.

When asked what else fueled her desire to bake, Kinsey credited her grandmother, who is well known for creating THE best Banana Nut Bread.  Like many of us, Kinsey started out as a “helper” in the kitchen, learning best practices like making everything from scratch (of course). 

Kinsey’s classes at CCKC and time in her grandmother’s kitchen both sweetened her enthusiasm to pursue an education in the culinary arts, so she accelerated her course work in high school at Shawnee Mission West and graduated early at the age of 16.  After a trip to explore the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, she knew without a doubt that The Culinary Institute of Virginia was where she wanted to be.  Kinsey packed up the essentials with determination and drove 20 hours away from home.

With her degree in Baking & Pastry and a zest for cakes, Kinsey is now working at a local HyVee Bakery, gaining experience and dreaming of opening her own cake shop one day soon.  Kinsey enjoys both collaborating on team efforts and finding her ‘Zen place’ while immersed in a solo project, such as decorating a cake.  She thrives on the creative aspect of designing cakes, and is excited to start designing wedding cakes. 

Kinsey offers this advice to culinary arts students, “No matter how tough it may seem, stick with it.  It is so worth it!”

Thanks for checking in, Kinsey, and congratulations on your success!
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you will go!”

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Made Your Labor Day Weekend Plans Yet?

If you haven’t made your plans for Labor Day Weekend yet, but are looking to do a little something fun, we have some terrific ideas for you at The Culinary Center of Kansas City!

Flavorful Weekend Nights> We have seats still available for our Friday night cooking class on Sept. 2 – Foods of Sicily.  AND it’s on a Last-Minute Deal right now… even better. Register today and save 15%!

biking & cooking class> Try out our newest concept in cooking classes on Saturday morning – A Wheel-y Cool Cooking Class! It’s for the bike-lovin’ foodies out there.  We’ll start with a pre-ride breakfast/coffee at 8 a.m., then hit the road for a 20-mile ride, returning to The Culinary Center for a cooking demonstration including recovery food after the workout. Guess what?! That one is on a Last-Minute Deal also! Sign up & reserve your spot now.

Folk Music Jam> On Saturday from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., we’ll hold our monthly Kitchen Sessions Folk Music Jam in our Santa Fe Kitchen. It’s FREE and it’s fun for all – whether you come by to listen or to join in making music.  Come on in. There’ll be a cash bar, if you’re thirsty. And local artisan snacks available in our Kitchen Shop. No reservations needed for the folk jam!

French Cooking Class> Enjoy date night on Saturday night and be virtually whisked away to France with our Romantic Dinner in Lyon – one in our series of L’Approche Francais classes (The French Approach to Cooking & Celebrations!)  Master Chef Richard McFarlane Clark will instruct the class on ingredient choices, as well as cooking methods and techniques used in Lyon, the food capital of the Rhone-Alpes region of France. The evening includes dinner and coursed wine tastings selected by Chef.

What’s Your Teen Doing Over Spring Break?

Give us 2 days and your teen (ages 13-19) will be nuts for healthy cooking! Our JCA Healthy Cooking Spring Break Boot Camp for Teens will help steer your teen away from fast food to much healthier food options.

Fruits & VegsCulinary Instructor Rachel Ciordas, an expert in healthy cooking, will teach them how to prepare delicious and healthy foods, using grown-up techniques and a heaping dose of fun. This Hands-On class that will also cover essential measuring, mixing, peeling and cutting skills as they work alongside Rachel in this two-day “cook-a-thon”.  They’ll discover their “inner health nut” as they learn about taking the fat and calories down by preparing awesome snacks like Smoky Guacamole with Homemade Tortilla Chips, scrumptious salads (like her California Chopped Salad with homemade healthy creamy herbed ranch dressing), Soups (such as “Swiss Tomato soup with Parmesan Crisps), and a home-cooked entrée of Roasted Chicken with 3-Herb Chimichurri Sauce – just like Mom makes!  And, what teen doesn’t like Pizza?!  Rachel will teach a simple but impressive Pizza and Quattro Staggione (4 Seasons) Pizza – a traditional Italian pizza made with homemade whole grain pizza dough with fresh seasonal toppings.  They’ll finish each day on a sweet note as they create a Delicate French lemon yogurt cake with blueberry sauce, and more!

They’ll walk away from this course with tons of confidence in their new ability to “do this thing!”, and will be well on their way to a whole new way of healthy cooking!  It’s that simple. Step aside, Mom….your teen is going to make dinner tonight!  Classes include all recipes with complete nutritional information; graduation certificate and a great big sense of pride for a job well done!)  Don’t wait to sign up for this one – class size is limited.

2-Day Healthy Cooking
Spring Break Boot Camp for Teens
Monday 3/14 and Wednesday 3/16

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
includes Tastings & Lunch Both Days) – HO

Couples’ Classes & Kids’ Classes Added

Our cooking classes are popular, and especially the couples’ and kids’ classes fill up like crazy.  By popular demand, our Dean of Deliciousness has added more…

Check out these new class options by clicking on the class title for more information or to register:


Our Dean of Delish Is On A Roll!

Brothers & Sisters… our classes are filling like mad … so our Dean of Deliciousness is working like mad to design and add great new classes for you to experience.  Check out these new class options by clicking on the class title for more information or to register:

  • The Napa TableSunday, Jan. 29  | 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    Flavorful Weekend Nights
    The Napa Table
    Chef Jim Tinkham

    Dinner & California wine  |  HO
  • JCA: Ace of CupcakesSunday, Feb. 21   |  10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    Junior Chefs Academy  (ages 9-14)
    ‘Ace of Cupcakes’ Competition
    Shannon Hartnett

    Includes tastings, and some take-home cupcakes  |  HO
  • The Thai KitchenThursday, Mar. 3   |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    The Thai Kitchen
    Chef Sandy DiGiovanni

    Includes tastings  |  LHO
  • Sunday, Mar. 20   |  10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    JuJCA: Game of Thronesnior Chefs Academy  (ages 9-14)
    Game of Cakes!
    Shannon Hartnett

    Snacks provided  |  HO


A New Summer Class for Our Junior Chefs (9-14 yrs)!

Take a look at the new 4-day summer Cooking Camp we have added! 

Click here to register for the new June 22-25 4-Day Cooking Camp!

It’s been great having all these young culinarians ‘in da house’  this summer at our summer cooking classes.  We offer classes for Junior Chefs Academy (ages 9-14), Li’l Kids In the Kitchen (ages 5-8) and Tiny Tots In The Kitchen (ages 2-4).  The energy these young chefs bring is awesome.  They must be enjoying themselves because the classes fill in a heartbeat!  In fact, the summer cooking camps we held last week were such a success and we had such long waiting lists on them that we have added another camp this month. 

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Kids Summer Cooking Classes

Summer classes at The Culinary CenterWe haven’t even made it to Spring Break, but admit it, you’re thinking about summer, aren’t you? It’ll be here before you know it, and it’s time to make plans for the kids.  Good news! We’ve added our first batch of kids’ cooking classes to our May – August calendar so get in there and take a look!  Don’t worry, we’ll still ‘cooking up’ even more so check back often.

At The Culinary Center of Kansas City, we offer kids’ cooking classes in three age groups –

  • Tiny Tots In The Kitchen | ages 2-4
  • Li’l Kids in the Kitchen | ages 5-8
  • Junior Chefs Academy (JCA)  | ages 9-14

Our complete list of classes is available on our website. Visit and click on the purple ‘Register for Classes‘ button for the most updated listing. Find a class that appeals? Just click on the class title for more information.

Here’s what we’ve added this week:

May 3
Li’l Kids in the Kitchen
Rise & Shine! It’s Breakfast Time!

May 9
“Ace of Cupcakes” Competition

May 9
Ages 8+
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Great Idea for Mothers Day!

May 16
“Real New York Pizza”
w/Joe Kieltyka 
(The Stonewall Inn)

May 24
Li’l Kids in the Kitchen
Bake It Up with Girls & Dolls

May 30
Let’s Learn to Bake!
Sweet & Savory Tarts

May 30
Li’l Kids in the Kitchen
Mini-Mexican Fiesta – Ole!

May 31
“Ace of Cupcakes” Competitio

June 1-4
4-Day Summer Cooking Camp –
Hey Mom … I’m Bringin’ Home Dinner All Week

June 5
Ages 11 – 15
Teen Night at the CCKC –
Cake Combat!

June 6
Li’l Kids in the Kitchen
Curious George and The Missing Bananas

June 6
Homemade Cinnamon Roll

Jun 8-11
4-Day Junior Chefs Pro Series

June 13
Li’l Kids in the Kitchen
Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

June 17
Full-Day Pro Series –
The Fundamentals of Desserts!

June 21
Ages 12+
Grillin’ & Chillin’ with Dad!
A Special Father-and-Child Grilling Class

June 27
Kids “Que”: The Fundamentals of Grilling

June 28
Tiny Tots in the Kitchen
Dino Baking Adventures in Jurassic Park

July 11
Tiny Tots in the Kitchen
Fruity Patootie!

July 12
Fundamentals of Cake Decorating

July 13 – 16
4-Day Junior Chefs Pro Series I

July 20
Tamalada Party

July 21
The Pizza Kitchen

July 22
Full-Day Pro Series –
The Fundamentals of Desserts!

July 26
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

July 27
Fundamentals of Cooking:
Old-Fashioned Pie-Making with
CCKC “Main Dish” Laura Laiben

July 29-30
Ages 13 – 19
2-Day Healthy Cooking Summer
Boot Camp for Teens

August 2
“Real New York Pizza”
w/Joe Kieltyka 
(The Stonewall Inn)

August 3
Mexican Fiesta – Ole! 

August 16
Ace of Cupcakes” Competition

August 22
Li’l Kids in the Kitchen
Baking Adventures in Jurassic Park