Food For Thought: Young Chefs is Mind-Expanding Summer Fun for Kids

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YoungChefs.jpegMetuchen residents Lisa and John Weidmaier own Young Chefs Academy, a cooking school located in Hillsborough. Their ever-expanding palette of classes offer fun and interesting opportunities for children to exercise both  cognitive skills and their taste buds while learning lots about healthy eating! Here's what Chef Lisa has to say about their programs:


What attracted you to the Young Chef franchise?


We were looking at an investment opportunity that was fun,  different, and connected to the community.  There is no better way to be  connected to a community than through the kids.   The franchise itself  was created by individuals that shared the same philosophies and values as we did.

While summer camps across the country are seeing a downturn as parents look for other activities to keep their children busy, Young Chefs Academy's summer camp will provide the perfect option for these parents; providing an exciting, entertaining experience that also 
teaches the campers an important life skill.  Classes are close to home for those opting to forego the expense of overnight camps and vacations.  Parents still need to find alternative activities for their children during the summer.  YCA has kept the current economic 
situation in mind during the creation of this year's theme.

Camps are running weekly through the week of August 24th (3-day camps from  $125). We also offer 1 1/2 hour cooking classes in the evenings during the summer.  The July theme is "Meals in a Hurry" and the August theme is "The Eco Kitchen"  July classes are on Thursday nights, August classes are on Tuesday night..

What are your themed programs for the fall?


During the school year we offer a variety of classes! Check out 2009%20Fall%20Flyer.pdf for further information!
September: Tailgate Challenge
October:  Five Ingredient Fall Favorites
November:  Teaching Old gadgets New Tricks
December:  Scandinavian Cuisine

What do you stress as the benefits for kids learning to cook? Do you find that children have a much broader taste palate than most parents realize?

What are your jobs as Chef Lisa and Chef John?


In the summer we offer 3-day camps:

"The Great Kitchen Mystery," this summer's camp theme, is a fun and exciting cooking camp incorporating mystery and games.  Young chefs will use their deductive skills to keep the sinister crook, Chef Pierre Poulet, from succeeding in his wicked schemes.  Each camp stands alone and takes students through a variety of exciting cooking Challenges to unlock the mysteriesIt is always amazing to us what the kids will try when they have cooked it themselves!!  We never force a child to try something they don't want to -- but we do encourage trying everything.  Almost all of the time they will at least try it!  We have all kinds of stories where parents have told us their kids have insisted they stop at the grocery store on the way home to by things like spinach!

The benefits of cooking classes are numerous.  Math (fractions, measuring, etc.)  Reading, History, Critical thinking and decision making are all things we sneak in to our classes and they don't even know it!  Of course there are also good eating habits, healthy eating and the like skill of learning how to cook!


What has been your most popular program? When will it happen again?

Some of our most popular classes have been our Save our Supper Spring Break Camp, Chinese New Year,  Flip-Flopped Foods  (Meatloaf Cupcakes and Brownie Burgers).  Of course Pizza!  (from scratch!)

What's the most surprising thing you've learned from your time at Young Chefs? What's the most important thing business owners need to realize when they're dealing with young children?

Children will always rise to the occasion. You have to be flexible in your offerings, as kids today have lots of things going on within their schedule.

Is Young Chefs mobile? Would you bring your program into the school system if able?

Yes, we do off-site enrichment  and after-school programs.  We also do a variety of scouting badges -- both Girls Scouts and Cub Scouts.

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