Laura O’Rourke is the owner of The Culinary Center of Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. She grew up in a small German community in Missouri where her passion for the culinary arts began at a young age with making pastry dough with her Grandmother while sitting on her kitchen counter. It was her dream to create a venue in the Midwest where culinarians of all skill levels could gather to celebrate the culianary arts in a variety of ways. She believes strongly that magical things happen around the table over well prepared food, good wine and interesting conversation.
Laura practiced corporate, securities and public finance law for 18 years before jumping career tracks to design and open The Culinary Center of Kansas City in May of 1998 which has enjoyed continued success. She has extensive teaching, teambuilding, facilitating and special event planning experience and has been a featured speaker at many area organizations.
In 2008, she expanded the physical space to include a second teaching and entertainment kitchen, expanded office and a retail store – “Kitchenology.” This expansion supported her dream of offering more classes and events in celebration of the culinary arts. Ms. O’Rourke and The Culinary Center have also been featured in several local newspapers and media and trade publications as well as on the cover of a national magazine. She was honored in 2003 as one of the “Top 25 Women Who Mean Business in Kansas City” by the Kansas City Small Business Monthly and has been an active member of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program for 6 years. In addition she is a Board Member for the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. Her resume includes membership in the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Missouri Bar Association, Slow Food Association, and the Kansas City Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Laura and The Culinary Center of Kansas City were awarded the 2008 Impact Award and the 1999 President’s Award by The Downtown Overland Park Partnership for your contribution to the business and community in Overland Park. The ACF’s Greater Kansas City’s Chef’s Association awarded her business its prestigious President’s Award in 2007 as well.
Laura is currently living her dream. Go figure!