Category Archives: What’s Goin’ On?

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…

Caramel Corn, Cocktails & Cookies, oh my!

What a fun and busy week at The Culinary Center of Kansas City…

caramel cornOn Thursday, CCKC ‘Main Dish’ Laura spent much of the day popping corn and making some delicious Caramel Corn (see below for her recipe!) to package and send as a treat to some special Overland Park visitors.  With the help of Chef Matthew, she sent out more than 40 bags of the snack! (And there may have been a bit extra for the crew here at CCKC to nosh…)The Oliver, Kansas City

After all that poppin’ at CCKC, the ‘Main Dish’, who is always checking out the new culinary treasures in Kansas City, checked out The Oliver on the Country Club Plaza. She reported that they have wonderful Carbonara, and the cocktails are unbelievable! The atmosphere was tip top, she said. (And it doesn’t hurt that her bestie Andrea’s brother is the general manager. Sweet!)  The drink pictured here is one they call ‘The Nighthawk’.

Several dozen cookies went out our doors on Friday for the #NoKidHungry Bake Sale at Williams-Sonoma at Leawood Town Center on Saturday, Sept. 10. What a great cause and the cookies look delicious. Make sure to stop by the bake sale this weekend to enjoy some cookies and raise money for the No Kid Hungry program. We’re happy to be a part of it!

No Kid Hungry bake saleCulinary Center Caramel Corn

  • 8 cups popped corn
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Cook sugar, syrup, butter and cream of tartar over low heat. Bring to boil, then continue to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from fire and add soda. Put corn in roasting pan or large jelly roll pan and pour mixture over it. Mix well. Put in 250 degree oven for 30 minuets, stirring occasionally to keep corn from sticking together.

caramel corn

Cool and enjoy!

Saying GoodBye to Tuesday Lunch

Winnie the Pooh - saying goodbyeOn Tuesday, Sept 27, we will be serving our final Tuesday Lunch here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.  We have made great friends each Tuesday for many years, but it’s time to concentrate on our growing business.  We are thankful to each of you for helping us build these memories each Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and we hope that you will continue to stop by and watch the progress on our expanding Kitchen Shop and Dinners on Demand program.

We hope you’ll join us any Tuesday in September (or all of them!) and help us celebrate years of community building and great food.

Help us end this month with some of your favorite Tuesday Lunch menus, Email and let us know what you’d like us to serve in the final two weeks. (We have the menu posted for this coming Tuesday – click here!)  We’ll look over the suggestions and pick out the most popular as we put together our menus.



Job Posting: Are You The Perfect Culinary Ambassador?

If you think you’d make an awesome
Retail Store Manager / Culinary Ambassador
for The Kitchen Shop
at The Culinary Center of Kansas City
we want to hear from you!

As part of the management team of a successful culinary arts center, this person would be essential to the overall operation and success of its Kitchen Shop.  It could be a part time (25+ hrs/week) or full-time position (40 hrs/wk) for the right candidate.

The Kitchen Shop @ The Culinary CenterOur Kitchen Shop functions not only as a culinary retail store specializing in the sale of basic kitchen tools, equipment and local artisanal food products, but also as a marketing and information portal for all other activities of The Culinary Center.  The team members working in this area are responsible for forming our customers’ first impression of The Culinary Center of Kansas City and must fully understand the importance of “value added” customer experience. It carries significant responsibility including the establishment and maintenance of excellent customer service relationships with existing and potential customers as well as cross-selling to other services we offer to the public such as cooking classes, private events, teambuilding and catering.  The schedule will be flexible, covering weekdays and weekends. Hourly pay starts at $13/hour, but the right candidate with retail and customer service experience and the passion to take command of this important position could demand a higher hourly rate upon hire or shortly after.   Opportunity for regular increase in hourly rate based on performance.

This position is perfect for someone with retail experience as well as a love for cooking and for helping customers and wants to play a key part in making this part of our business successful. This person would handle merchandise sale but also explain, promote and sell our Dinners on Demand freezer cuisine; answer questions about cooking classes, our weekly “Tuesday Lunch” and private events; greet students and people attending private events; assist customers in the store and on the phone with signing up for classes and purchasing gift certificates; and enjoy organizing, ‘fluffing & tickling’ and styling our merchandise displays; and be able to source and order inventory. Plus, happily handle various random things that come up in any retail establishment.

A qualified applicant must be customer focused, be capable of making excellent customer service judgments, be results driven and organized, have proficient verbal/written communication skills, be able to interact with the public, work well within a well-honed team, have a good working knowledge of cooking and the culinary arts, and enjoy working with those passionate about cooking and food.  Maturity and a sense of humor are important.  No divas, babies or whiners please.

Please send (1) resume and (2) a cover letter explaining why you believe you would be perfect for this position to  Sorry but no ‘walk-in’ resumes or phone inquiries will be accepted at this time.

The Culinary Center of Kansas City is located in historic, vibrant and growing (!) Downtown Overland Park (7920 Santa Fe, Overland Park, KS 66204) and is a full-service culinary arts center offering cooking classes, special events, teambuilding experiences, catering, offices and a Kitchen Shop, all in a beautiful 6,500 square foot historic building.  Our mission is to consistently exceed client expectations and enrich our community by providing education, cultivation and appreciation for the culinary arts through a variety of experiences including cooking classes, interactive culinary experiences and creative catered events, all of which are brilliantly conceived, precisely and joyously executed in an immaculate and comfortable environment. We were also honored as one of The Best Paces To Work in Kansas City by the KC Business Journal.

Help Wanted