Tag 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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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

We Added Cooking Classes to the Schedule!

Some of our cooking classes just filled up so fast that we decided to added another session! You’ll be happy to hear there are now spots available in these new classes added to the schedule:

JCAJunior Chefs Academy:
‘Ace of Cupcakes’ Competition
, Oct 23  |  10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
For young chefs ages 9-14, this popular JCA class teaches the art of baking and decorating cupcakes. Students will then use those skills to compete for the ‘Ace of Cupcakes’ award. This Hands-On class includes tastings and take-home cupcakes.

Li'l Kids in the Kitchen Cooking ClassesLi’l Kids in the Kitchen:
Li’l Kids Love Cupcakes & Cookies!
, Oct 30  |  2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
This class is all about cookies, cupcakes and little kids (ages 5-8). The class fee includes an adult/child team, and you’ll learn valuable and kid-friendly baking techniques. It’s a Hands-On class with plenty of tastings!

Old Time Mexican FavoritesFlavorful Weekend Nights:
Couples Cook! Old School Mexican Favorites
, Nov 5  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Take a culinary adventure south of the border and learn to make some Mexican favorites.  The menu you’ll learn to make includes a tasty Fideo, a toasted pasta dish, Chili Relleno stuffed with traditional chihuahua cheese and a ground beef Chimichanga, along with Chips and Salsa for snack and a Columbian Snowball for dessert. (OK, not Mexican, but south-of-the-border and delicious!)   This Hands-On Class will include Tastings.


Don’t forget to keep you eye on our Last-Minute Deals page at www.kcculinary.com.   We sometimes have a few open seats in upcoming classes and we offer you a special deal in order to get them filled!  Click here to see what is on ‘the deal’ right now.

Last Minute Delicious Deal

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.

Have We Got A Deal For You!

Last Minute Delicious DealDON’T MISS OUR


Act NOW –
This special pricing is now available online…

Li’l Kids in the Kitchen: Curious George and the Missing Bananas
Fri. 7/22/16  |  10 a.m. – Noon

Was $85     NOW $72.25 per adult/child team
Li'l Kids in the Kitchen Cooking ClassesThat mischievous monkey, Curious George, got into our kitchen and hid our bananas! We need all little chefs (ages 5-8) to join our Banana Safari as we search high and low for those lovely yellow fruits to use in our cooking class! Once we find them, we’ll work as teams to make a creamy Yogurt Banana Split, fresh-baked “Going Bananas” Cookies, and yummy Banana Pudding Cups! Your tiny chef will learn how to follow instructions as they stir and whisk and crack an egg, and more. We keep it simple and interactive so nobody nods off.

CookWell: Let’s Get Fresh!
Cooking from the Farmers Market with Executive Chef Jim Tinkham
Sat. 7/23/16  |  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Was $55     NOW $46.75
Farmers Market cooking classCelebrate the bounty of our local farmers markets. We’ll chat about the “best of the best” local markets, learn how to choose the finest produce, and get some hands-on practice in transforming these local gems into gourmet dishes. Chef Jim will show us appetizers, salad, main course and dessert, all from the market gems that tickle his fancy this week at the farmers market. Doesn’t get much more fun (or fresh) than that! Tastings are included with this Limited Hands-On class.

Flavorful Weekend Nights: The Fishmonger
Sat. 7/23/16  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Was $75     NOW $63.75
FishmongerMany a fishmonger has longed for the knowledge of fish and seafood accumulated by tonight’s excellent chef! You’ll learn to make your way around the fish department as well as how to cook your fish once you get it home. We’ll learn dishes such as Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Lemon Dill Aioli, Escargot Stuffed Mushrooms & Pan-Seared Tuna Steak, along with some fabulous sides and a Coconut White Chocolate Key Lime Dessert. Dinner is included with this Limited Hands-On class.

Flavorful Weekend Nights:
Sicilian Pizza Kitchen
Sat. 7/23/16  |  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Was $75     NOW $63.75
Sicilian PizzaThis is the real deal folks … with a REAL Sicilian chef who is fun and KNOWS PIZZA! You’ll learn to make made-from-scratch Sicilian-style “square” pizza starting with some olive-oil pizza dough! Conquer flour, yeast and measuring properly, and also create authentic Antipasto Salad and Espresso Panna Cotta. Buon appetito! Dinner is included with this Hands-On class.

Sweet & Savory Crepes
Sun. 7/24/16  |  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Was $55     NOW $46.75
CrepesThe Culinary Center turns into “Le Crêperie”! Learn the techniques and tips to making perfect recipes for crepes like Mushroom and Prosciutto, Asparagus and Egg, a fabulous dessert crepe made with hazelnut spread, and more. Once you master the fundamentals, you’ll be able to create tons of variations at home! Tastings are included with this Hands-On class.


Junior Chefs Academy: The Art of the Tart
Sun. 7/24/16  |  10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Was $55     NOW $46.75
JCAC’mon kids, ages 9-14! Let’s learn some grown-up baking techniques, ok? Today it’s the art of the tart. The techniques learned will build a strong foundation of baking expertise. We’ll make 3 mini-tarts to take home and learn baking skills, proper measuring, the “hows” and “whys” behind the ingredients and more. Tastings & Take-Home Mini Tarts are included with this Hands-On class. 

(Sorry, but this deal is NOT retroactive.)

Gingerbread Kits On Sale!

In our Kitchen Shop, you can purchase “real deal” gingerbread kits for $10!  Holy Santa Elves!  That’s a deal!  Choose between a house, Santa’s sleigh with reindeer or a stackable cookie Christmas Tree!  Or buy all three!  We even have 1 pound packages of Royal Icing mix (just add water) for $3 if you please!   These kits are going fast, so head in soon to snap one (or two?  or three?)  for your holiday activity!   What a great tradition to begin… work on it together on Christmas Eve!

Sign up for a Junior Chefs Academy here in the store and receive your choice of a gingerbread kit for FREE!  Uh huh!

Check back tomorrow here on the Kitchen Talk blog, and we’ll be sharing the Sparkling Pretzels recipe that we served at the Gingerbread class, along with the secret to our yummy hot cocoa.

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Meet Chef Richard McPeake…And Yes, He Has Cooked With Julia!

The Culinary Center of Kansas City is fortunate to have some of the best and the brightest culinary and beverage educators in the industry. Our instructors come with a wealth of knowledge and skill in the culinary arts, from all walks of life. We spotlight one of these gems each month,  giving you a peek into their world.

Next up – Chef Richard McPeake, who has been a chef instructor at The Culinary Center of Kansas City for 16 years.

ChChef Richard McPeakeef Richard’s impressive culinary resumé began 40 years ago, and includes studying at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, developing more than 30 restaurant concepts, authoring numerous cookbooks, competing and educating about BBQ, creating a line of BBQ rubs, instructing at Kansas City, Kansas Community College and CCKC, and winning dozens of awards for food excellence.

What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
VacuVin Instant Marinator, for infusing the depth of flavor. And the Smoking Gun!

What is your ingredient obsession?
Fresh Herbs and Local Products, cooking “indigenous,” and of course anything with a “solid” BBQ Flavor!

What is your all-time most memorable meal?
After working a full day at Spago restaurant in LA with Chef Mark Peel and Wolfgang Puck, sitting down and chatting with Wolfgang and eating a Santa Barbara Shrimp Pizza (The opening days of Fedora Café, 1984)

Who is your favorite chef?
On TV – Cat Kora! I love how she infuses her heritage into everything she does.  I cooked with Julia Child 3 times, and it was an awesome experience to meet the BEST & Greatest Chef to bring TV cooking into your home!

Who’s your favorite person to have cooked for?
My favorite rock group is ZZ TOP, and I did their backstage party after a concert at Verizon/Sandstone – very cool! I have cooked for Ronald Reagan, Tip O’Neil, Bob Dole, Charlton Heston, to name a few. And I cooked for Bette Midler on her 40th birthday.

Who would you love to cook for?
I would love to have cooked for Elvis.

Click here and sign up for one of Chef Richard’s upcoming classes at The Culinary Center of Kansas City!