Category Archives: What’s Goin’ On?

There’s A New Chef In Our Kitchens!

Molly FlynnWe are happy to introduce you to Chef Molly Flynn,who is new at the helm in our kitchens here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.

Molly began teaching cooking classes at CCKC in 2017 after moving to the Kansas City area from Seattle, where she attended culinary school at Seattle Central Culinary Academy. She worked for several restaurants and catering companies in Seattle while running her own business as a personal chef.  She has been a chef instructor for five years for both adults and children, and was most recently Banquet Chef at the Reserve event space in Kansas City’s Rockhill Grille.

In her new role at CCKC, Molly will manage kitchen operations, create menus, teach culinary classes and provide instruction at private events and teambuildings. Her cooking classes will include a variety of topics, from vegan cooking to surf & turf dinners, daytime classes to up-close-and-personal intensive training to weekend date nights, kitchen fundamentals and knife skills to classic French dishes.

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Fun facts about Molly:

  • She is a former Miss Montana USA.
  • She moved to KC to be near her sister’s family, including 2 nephews she adores.
  • She enjoys teaching Above the Barre, cycle, boot camps and loves to play volleyball  when she’s not in the kitchen.
  • Her favorite food is cheese.
  • She has a cat named Pig.

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Click on the titles below for more information or class registration on these upcoming classes that Molly will teach:

Toque Wars - Jesse vs. MollyFlavorful Weekend Nights:
Toque Wars!  Two Chefs. Two Dinners. One Winner.

Sat, Jan 20,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Chef Jesse Vega & Chef Molly Flynn
Demonstration Class  |  Tastings & Wine
The stage will be set for some fine culinary entertainment as two of our very own CCKC instructor chefs compete in a ‘toque-to-toque’ battle while showing off their culinary acumen, all in good fun, of course (or maybe not… depends on how the night goes, right?).  Here’s how it works… You’ll be met with a stunning appetizer as we introduce the evening’s festivities.  Then each chef, one at a time, will be given a box of mystery ingredients and one hour to cook and plate their dazzling creations all the while explaining to you what they are doing while they are doing it.

Knife SkillsMastering Knife Skills
Thu, Feb 1,  10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Hands On  |  Snacks
Chef Molly Flynn will teach you how to masterfully perfect knife skills fundamentals such as basic cuts, mincing, brunoise, batonnet, julienne and others.  She’ll also include a discussion on how to choose the knife that is right for you, how to sharpen and store them the proper way, and so much more.  You’ll get lots of hands-on time next to this experienced chef as you practice your newfound knife skills so that you’ll feel comfortable using them in your own kitchen.

Julia & Me: Classic French DishesFlavorful Weekend Nights
Julia & Me: Classic French Dishes

Sat, Feb 10,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Dinner
You’d have to be living under a stock pot not be aware of the renewed interest in Julia Child, who taught us that there is something glorious and elemental in cooking. We also learned from Julia’s quirky instruction that you don’t have be a domestic goddess to cook well – her works are written for us domestic mortals, too. CCKC Lead Chef Molly Flynn will teach you basic culinary techniques such as knife skills, sautéing, mixing, sauce making, and more special class.  And you’ll get to help her prep and prepare some of tonight’s dishes, too.

Vegan CookingCookWell!
Vegan for Everybody

Mon, Feb 26,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings
Discover the variety of rich and tasty dishes you will be able to savor using grains, legumes, nuts, oh, and veggies!  See, it isn’t just about veggies! Chef Molly will teach some basic culinary skills as she walks you through some incredibly delicious plant-based recipes. Because we learn best when we practice what we learn, you’ll tie on an apron and help with some of the prep and cooking, too!


Baking for a Cause

Bake Sale PrepWe’re excited to be a part of the No Kid Hungry Weekend in Kansas City, including the Culinary Bake Sale in Brookside on Saturday and the Country Brunch & Bloody Mary SmackDown on Sunday at The Guild KC.

Look for some delicious brownies, pies and cookies from The Culinary Center of Kansas City at the Bake Sale. The fundraiser brunch on Sunday will include biscuits from our Chef, as well as some Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Prosecco Lemon Glaze that our ‘Main Dish’ Laura Laiben whipped up.

Try these shortbread cookies at home – they’re just a little bit fancy and oh so yummy!

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
Lemon Rosemary Crackerswith Prosecco Lemon Glaze  

1 bottle Prosecco wine


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons rosemary, fresh, chopped finely
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Prosecco wine reduction


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 5 to 6 teaspoons Prosecco wine reduction
  • Pinch of salt

To make the wine reduction, in a small saucepan add Prosecco wine and reduce by half over medium heat.  Set aside to cool. You will use approximately ½ to ¾ cup of this reduction.  Save the remainder for other uses.

For the shortbread, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a mixer bowl add butter and cream slightly.  Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add rosemary and zest. Mix to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour. While continuing to mix on low speed, add the wine reduction, one tablespoon at a time, until a stiff ball is formed.   Line a 15-x10-x1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Placed in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.   Remove from refrigerator and place in the over to bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden in color.   

While shortbread is baking, prepare the glaze. In a bowl add powdered sugar. Add the juice and the wine reduction, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is thin enough to drizzle from the end of a fork. Add salt and combine.  Set aside.

Remove the shortbread from oven and cut into squares or diamond shapes while still warm. Drizzle the glaze over top while slightly warm.  Allow shortbread to cool completely and glaze to set.  Makes 18-24 cookies.  

Eat A Cookie, Help A Kid…

The Culinary Center of Kansas City is joining millions of people across the country who are making a difference by joining the fight against childhood hunger in America.  YOU can help by stopping by CCKC on Friday or Saturday this week, and buying tasty treats at our Bake Sale to benefit No Kid Hungry.

No Kid Hungry Bake Sale @ The Culinary CenterCulinary Center staff, instructors, students and Junior Chefs will be baking up delicious treats for the bake sale, and 100% of the proceeds will go to No Kid Hungry.

Stop by at the following times to purchase baked delicacies from the sale:

Friday, Sept 22,  11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
during our Pop-Up Lunch at The Culinary Center  (see below)

Saturday, Sept 23,   8:30 a.m. until the goodies are gone!
during the Fall Festival in Downtown Overland Park  (see below)

This year, nearly 1 in 6 children across the country struggle with hunger. That’s more than 17 million kids.  Funds raised through the CCKC Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry will be used to support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger in America.  Share Our Strength works to surround kids facing hunger with nutritious food where they live, learn and play.

What’s a Pop-Up Lunch, you ask?Pop-Up Lunch @ The Culinary Center of Kansas City
Formerly known as ‘Tuesday Lunch’, we now host just ‘occasional’ open-to-the-public lunches at The Culinary Center. Our chefs put together an outstanding menu (this week > Authentic Mexican Street Tacos!), all for the fabulous price of $12.95 (+tax).  We can also serve it up ‘to go’, if you must rush back to the office!  You can pay when you get here, or pre-pay on our website and avoid the line (click here for that!)

Here’s the menu for this Friday’s Pop-Up Lunch:

Tacos al Pastor
(roasted pork, pineapple and other goodness served in
homemade corn tortillas. Hey, we don’t fool around.)

Spanish Rice & Beans

Homemade Chips & Salsa

Mexican Flan

What’s the Overland Park Fall Festival, you ask?OP Fall Fest
The Overland Park Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept 23 features a hometown parade (sponsored by The Culinary Center of Kansas City) through Downtown Overland Park, the county’s best arts and crafts fair, sales and other events at local shops and other merchants, fantastic food and much more!  A schedule of activities at the Fall Fest is available @

At The Culinary Center, we have a full and fun day planned!

  • No Kid Hungry Bake Sale – stop by to enjoy delicious baked goods and support a great cause.
  • KIDS Unicorn Cupcake Decorating ACTIVITY!
    Annie & Ellie, daughters of CCKC culinary instructor Katie Newell will lead you in an interactive cake art activity where you make your very own! #KidsTeachingKidsKC
  • Lunch – we’ll be serving up lunch after the parade, so come by CCKC for some Walking Tacos and Strawberries ‘n Cream. Yum!
  • Vain Vanilla will be handing out samples of dishes made with their tasty vanilla, and  we’ll have a special discount available on Vain Vanilla purchases on Saturday.
  • So much more!!

Join Us For A Friday Night Food Fight!

Introducing a NEW cooking class concept
offered by The Culinary Center of Kansas City…

Friday Night Food Fight
Friday Night Food Fight
An Iron Chef-Inspired Mystery Box Cooking Party
Offered Three Times This Summer!
Friday, June 16, 2017  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, July 28, 2017  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, August 25, 2017  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Much like the popular Food Network cooking shows, this interactive and fun Friday night food competition will place you in small teams where you’ll be pitted against other chef wannabes, all with mystery boxes of ingredients and a cruel clock.  Folks, we have been providing these kinds of interactive experiences for 20 years now!  We can absolutely guarantee a fun … and delicious… evening! 

We’ll greet you with a specialty cocktail we like to call the ‘Chef’s Little Helper’, and then all you weekend kitchen warriors will be let loose to transform your ingredients into a restaurant-quality dish to feed the entire motley crew.  Bartering?  Uh-huh… if you wanna.  Trips to our pantry?  Sure… within reason.  And, our chefs and staff will be right there with you during the evening cheering you on, fetching equipment and providing real cooking education as you go.  

Expect a fair amount of kitchen “trash talk” as we anticipate that a few of you will get quite cocky as you compete for some seriously good prizes. (e.g “Hey, where did you get your training, Le Cordon Poo?”)  Not to worry though … our chefs will make certain that the drama stays at a minimum… and that your dish comes out like a star.  

You’ll strategize, plan, barter, cook, create and beautifully present your tasty dish.  We might even throw in a few challenges, just to keep things exciting.  In the end, we’ll all sit down around the table and dine on our culinary creations.

The judges will pick the winners and provide light-hearted feedback.  Pull together your own winsome cooking team or we’ll put you with some new friends.  Either way, it’s a good, clean and tasty way to party on a Friday night!

This hands-on class includes dinner and PRIZES!

Click on the desired date below and reserve your spot today…
Friday, June 16, 2017  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, July 28, 2017  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, August 25, 2017  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Our Tuscan Kitchen Is Getting A Facelift

New year, new kitchen at The Culinary Center of Kansas City!

Get ready for a brand spankin’ new Tuscan Teaching Kitchen.  We began demolition on New Year’s Day, and plan to begin renovation next week.  That kitchen will be closed to class use during the project so we have a very tight schedule in place to christen the new space and have it back open for classes on January 19.  (Never fear – we will have classes still in our Santa Fe Kitchen!)

Our friend and kitchen designer Billie Deatheridge has designed an efficient and beautiful space, and we’re working with the folks at Trendstone to get the project done. The teaching island is larger than in our former Tuscan kitchen, with a solid surface Cambria countertop.  The sink will be a large open-style sink with a pull-down commercial faucet and an offset drain with a high-quality disposal.  The rangetop will be top-of-the-line with a Bluestar 36” 6-burner rangetop with a griddle option.  It is pretty swanky.  Under the counter will be open shelving for equipment, as well as room to roll our smaller carts and trash cans.  The bottom of the teaching island will be wrapped in corrugated metal.

As soon as we complete the remodel of the teaching island, we’ll start on the ‘Viking Kitchen’ (along our west wall in the Tuscan Kitchen), but it will be in construction phase probably until February or March. 

We will have limited use of the Tuscan Kitchen during construction, but it will be closed for classes.  Bear with us during construction… we’re excited to debut our new space soon…

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Where Are They Now? We Love To Hear…

We are a culinary arts center for the home chef here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City (as opposed to a traditional culinary school that offers a degree at the end of the coursework), but our students range from cooking neophytes to highly skilled home cooks who have spent their whole lives in the kitchen.  Some of our students come to class on a date or with friends, just looking for a fun night out. Others take their cooking very seriously and have a passion for it.

Junior Chefs Academy classesWe start our students young. From age 2+, we have classes for everyone! By the time students reach our Junior Chefs Academy classes for 9-14 year olds, some of these students are highly skilled cooks with a plan to make it their life’s work. We love being a part of this and watching them develop their skills.

Junior Chefs Academy classesWe love hearing the follow-ups on our students.  In fact, we recently had some parents come into The Culinary Center on a weekend for a “nostalgic tour” of the place. Their daughter, Victoria, had taken some kids’ cooking classes here and absolutely loved them. She is now in college studying Hospitality Management. While she loves to cook, she decided to follow the management aspect of the industry. Best of luck in your career, Victoria. We are happy to feel a part of shaping your interest in the field!

Junior Chefs Academy class

We also have a volunteer named Phil, a valuable member of our Volunteer Foodie Crew, who took our 9-week adult Pro Series course. The series loosely follows the curriculum of the first year of culinary school, and many people who are still deciding if this is what they want to do with their life take our course to dip their foot in the culinary waters without the high cost of committing to a full culinary program. In Phil’s case, he was smitten – he’s now enrolled in culinary school and working on his degree!

So, fill us in on what you’ve done with the time you spent at The Culinary Center! We love to hear updates.  Have you continued to prepare recipes you learned here? Did you meet someone who is now a good friend? Did you learn a technique that you have now mastered? Did you decide on a culinary career?  Let us know!

Cooking Class

Proud To Be Selected…

Wow! Thanks! Sure, it’s an honor to be nominated, but we have to be honest… it feels even better to win.

Laura LaibenWe are proud to announce that The Culinary Center of Kansas City has been named Kansas Woman-Owned Business of the the Year Service Industry Firm by the Kansas Department of Commerce, Office of Minority & Women Business Development.

Laura Laiben, CCKC founder, owner and ‘Main Dish’, will be honored at an awards luncheon in Topeka next week, and we couldn’t be prouder. This little idea that she created 20 years ago has grown and become a culinary fixture in the Kansas City community.

Just had to share…