Tag Archives: kids’ cooking classes

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

Spring Break – Kids Cooking Classes!

Spring Break is nearly here, and it’s time to make your plans for the kids.  We have some ideas for you here at The Culinary Center!

Our Junior Chefs Academy will be hoppin’, and there are still some spots available for your 9 – 14 year old foodies.

Sign up today because there’s limited space available!

p.s. Summer is just around the corner also. We’ll have our summer course list available in the next couple of weeks.  Standby to make plans for your Junior Chefs (ages 9-14), your L’il Kids in the Kitchen (ages 5-8) and your Tiny Tots In The Kitchen (ages 2-4) to join us for summer classes!

Junior Chefs Academy

Kids and “All Hands for Hunger”

From the Manager of Merriment, Maria:

We have a big day ahead here at the CCKC w/ a kids’ class and two teambuilding events!  One of the teambuildings will be our new and very popular “All Hands for Hunger” model.  This event has been so well received by our guests and of course the recipients of the yummy food donations.  Tomorrow’s donation will be created by various teams from a local corporation, and then donated to Rose Brooks Women’s and Children’s Shelter here in KCMO.  We recently learned that the demand for the services at shelters like Rose Brooks has tripled since June of ’09…….So we’re doing our best to help them in such a desperate time of need!  We’re glad to be able to offer such an opportunity to our guests, both privately and to the public through our newsletter.  Talk about “comfort food” at its finest!

Kids – Make a pie with the Main Dish

New Class!!

Junior Chefs Academy
“Hands On”

ages 9-14 yrs.

Fundamentals of Cooking:

An Old-Fashioned Pie-Making Session with

CCKC “Main Dish” Laura Laiben O’Rourke

July 22    10-12:30

Spring Break Invasion

by Connie Miller (CCKC “House Mistress”), a weekly peek into one of CCKC’s special events.

This week is SPRING BREAK and for the Culinary Center of Kansas City™ that means one thing!  KIDS CLASSES !

Monday Miss Diana taught 9 – 14 year olds how to make apple bars, flower shaped sugar cookies on a stick and pizza cookies.  She had a “sprinkle table” ready to go once the cookies were baked and cooled.  I took some close up photos of the pizza cookies and they looked like the real thing. Iced with red glaze and topped with green sprinkles and slices of red licorce whips they looked like they could have come right out of the ovens at Waldo Pizza.

Wednesday was the day for making snacks.  Miss Shawn-Marie was the original instructor.  Unfortunately, she came down with a bug and our own executive Chef Matt stepped in to teach this one.  I love doing kids classes with Matt.  He is 6’6″ and can be an imposing figure in his black chef jacket. During the introduction I make sure to mention that he does ice carving with chain saws and has his black belt in Shotokan Karate.  That usually illicits some “ooohs” from the boys in the class.  Then I tell them about his 4 year old triplet daughters and I get “aaahs” from the girls.

The kids made Irish soda bread in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, crepes (was that a challenge!), baked chicken fingers, cinnamon & sugar tortillas and fruit salsa.  They were kept busy for 3 hours and we all had a great time.

This morning Chef Matt and I are making breadsticks and pizza with 18 of our little buddies. The kids will make their dough and learn how to knead. We’ll have an ingredient table and I am sure there will be some interesting combinations.  I think I’ll be making my own pizza today!

The Week of Kiddos

This week is the week of kiddos!

I had completely forgotten what it’s like to have spring break.  It’s been so many years since I looked forward to a week without school buses and lunch boxes.  Oh but seeing these kids I remember how much fun a week of freedom can be!

It’s been wonderful; mornings at the culinary center are usually quiet, I sneak in, make some coffee, and settle in to some emails.  Sometimes we have an Italian class, or a team builder but they’re full of sleepy adults with toasty cups of coffee.  Not this week! We’ve had energetic kids who are used to waking up at the crack of dawn in here keeping us all lively.  They’ve been making artistic creations with baked goods so far, it’s wonderful to see what an unfettered mind will think of to make out of dough and sprinkles!

They’re all so eager to learn too, it’s great to see how excited they get when making cookies; I remember that feeling, when we’d make and decorate cookies as a family.  It’s wonderful to see that excitement live on; what a wonderful feeling to create something! I’d better get some rest though; we’ve got more junior chefs the rest of the week.

Rachel Ciordas

“Dean of Deliciousness”

Manager of Culinary Curriculum