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Tot Chef: Best Kids’ Cooking Classes Around Seattle

A sampler of classes and tips for teaching kids the joy of cooking

Devon Hammer
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Published on: March 30, 2022

cooking campers at sous

Preparing meals: It is something we humans must do like clockwork, three times a day, 365 days a year. Teaching this fundamental life skill to our children should be a priority. The goal doesn’t have to be to groom a “Master Chef Junior”-ready contestant, certainly. But teaching our kids to gain comfort and confidence in the kitchen over time establishes a foundation for healthier eating habits for the rest of their lives.

If leaving the mess and coaching to the experts sounds like the most savory solution to you, we are here to “stir” you in the right direction with a roundup of fun cooking classes and camps in the Puget Sound area. (Note: Many of these sell out fast, so book early!)

Culinary classes for Seattle and Eastside-area kids

FrogLegs Culinary Academy

Started in a mom’s cozy kitchen in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood, this kid-focused company has expanded to locations on the Eastside (Kirkland) and in Seattle, including a newer location in University Village that features a drool-triggering treat mercantile. FrogLegs offers everything from camps and single-session classes to foodie field trips and birthday parties. Fun themed classes are interactive and engaging — and a touch whimsical: Tie-dye cake roll, fruity pebbles French macarons and “Encanto” are a few of the upcoming class themes.

Locations: Kirkland, University Village, Issaquah
Ages: 4 and older
Cost: $75–$80 per day; $395 and up for camp/class series

PCC Kids Cook

With store locations sprinkled around the region, the kids’ cooking classes at these beloved neighborhood markets — and online — focus on healthy cooking, foundational skills and building confidence in the kitchen for budding chefs at all stages. PCC offers a range of cooking education ops, from classes specific to holidays, such as Halloween favorite “Monster Munchies” for the youngest of chefs, to more complex skills-building classes, like teen baking workshops for older kids. School-break camps are the icing on the cake for loving and learning about food all year around.
 
Locations: PCC Community Markets locations in Edmonds, Redmond, Columbia City, Green Lake Village, Redmond and Bothell, among others, offer cooking classes and camps.
Ages: Ages vary by class.
Cost: $30–$80/class; Cooking Camps $200–$250/camp

Pure Food Kids Workshop

The Beecher’s Foundation offers an in-school cooking education program tailored for fourth- and fifth-grade students in Seattle. The program is focused on providing kids with the tools, experience and knowledge they need to make healthy food choices. Workshops are free and available to any type of school: private, public or a home-school setting. Tell your favorite teacher and get the word out!

Locations: Instructors come to you! Visit the foundation’s website to schedule a workshop in the Seattle metro area.
Grades: 4–5
Cost: Workshops are offered free of charge to all schools.

Junior Sous

Dumplings, pasta and cookies — oh my! Seattle-based Junior Sous is the new kid on the block, a pop-up cooking school for kids ages 5–12 that offers hands-on culinary experiences (group and private class instruction) taught in real restaurant kitchens. Instructors Sarah Adams and Brianna Bato Draper teach participants safe knife skills, how to read recipes and proper cooking techniques. 

Locations: Various Seattle-area professional restaurant kitchens
Ages: 5–12
Cost: Single-session classes $65; special Sunday Family Supper classes $120 for one child participant plus dinner for a family of four (including class participant) 

seattle cucina kids outside with squash
Photo: Seattle Cucina

Seattle Cucina

Seattle Cucina used to host Community Dinners and after-school enrichment classes at numerous area schools and community centers. However, since the pandemic, they have transitioned away from in-person classes and now offer online self-guided classes for free! Check the website for free learning opportunities.
 
Locations: Online
Ages: Kid and family classes are offered for younger and older kids
Cost: Free

Seattle Parks & Recreation

Seattle Parks & Recreation offers great cooking programs for kids ages 10 and older at multiple community centers around the city, and many of them are free or low-cost. The parks department used to offer a series for the younger crowd, called “Little Chefs” (ages 2–5), at the Ballard Community Center. We're checking to see when this one will be back!

Locations: Check the website to see what classes are offered at a community center near you and to register.
Ages: 2 and older
Cost: Free or low-cost

Kirkland Parks

Kirkland Parks offers a parent/child cooking series for families with kids ages 2–4 called “Cooking for Preschoolers,” and one for older kids called “Creating in the Kitchen” for kids ages 6–10. Both series focus on teaching culinary skills and kitchen safety.  
 
Location: McAuliffe Park, Kirkland
Ages: 2 and older
Cost: “Cooking for Preschoolers” classes cost $44–$58 for a four-week series; “Creating in the Kitchen” costs $70 for a four-week series.

Bellevue Parks & Community Services

Bellevue Parks & Community Services offers a class called “Top Junior Chef,” which teaches cooking basics to children in grades 2–5. Proper cooking methods and how and where to source healthy ingredients are key tenets of this nine-week series.

Location: Robinswood Community Park, Bellevue
Grades: 2–5
Cost: $136 for Bellevue residents, $163 for nonresidents

Whisk

Whisk is one part kitchenware specialty shop, one part cooking school. It offers an array of classes for adults, as well as classes and camps designed for children. Current offerings include “Pâtisserie à la française,” “Taste of Italy" and a macaron-making class for teens.
 
Location: Bellevue
Ages: 8 and older
Cost: $75 for single-session classes; $395 for weeklong camps

kitchen coach
Photo: Kitchen Coach

Kitchen Coach Cooking School

Kitchen Coach, an offshoot of Mangia Bene Catering Seattle, offers classes for parents and kids. It also hosts birthday parties and all-day summer camps for budding chefs ages 10 and older.
 
Location: 850 N.E. 88th St., Seattle
Ages: 10–16
Cost: The per-class tuition rate is $125 + $40 supply fee; weeklong summer camps cost about $575 + $125 supply fee.

South Sound culinary classes for kids

Metro Parks Tacoma

Metro Parks Tacoma presents a camp series called “Mini Master Chef,” through which 6- to 8-year-olds are taught basic cooking skills that build confidence and independence in the kitchen. 
 
Locations: STAR Center and the Center at Norpoint, Tacoma
Ages: 6–8
Cost: $178 for 4 class sessions. 

Bayview School of Cooking

Olympia’s Bayview School of Cooking offers a special, seasonally-themed kids’ cooking program called BSC Kids Culinary Arts, with classes divided into two age groups.

Location: Olympia
Ages: 5–13
Cost: $35 for students ages 5–8, $40 for ages 9–13

Young Chef's Academy

Young Chefs Academy hosts numerous single-day cooking workshops for kids of all ages. They host KinferCooks are classes for kids ages 4–12. JuniorChefs classes are for kids ages 7+. Senior Chefs classes are based on skill level. 
 
Location: Covington
Ages: 4–12
Cost: $40–$45 per class

Ingredients for success: tips to inspire a lifelong love of cooking in kids

While there are definitely days when cooking with your kids is not in the cards, taking the patience, care and time to include them in meal prep, despite any hurricane-rated property damage sustained, can have so many benefits for your whole family. Take a cue from Jackie Freeman, a professional cook, writer and mom to three little “kitchen monkeys” of her own: “The more the kids are involved in the process of cooking a meal, the more likely they are to eat it.” Amen.

With the help of Freeman and other local moms in the know, we’ve compiled a list of tips to make cooking with kids a whole lot more fun for everyone involved.

  • Plan ahead. This is not a novel idea, but it is crucial if you want to include your kids in cooking family meals. Enlist your child in the planning process as well. “The more involved they are, the more likely they are to try new things” says Freeman. Give them ownership by letting them choose one of their favorite meals for the week, help shop for the ingredients and then, of course, help cook it! 
  • If you have younger kids, invest in a step stool. Kids want to be right in the action and to do this safely at your elbow, a steady step stool for your kitchen helper is a must. If you are handy, there are a ton of DIY design plans and instructional videos available online to help you construct your own.
  • For older kids, buy a set of kid-safe knives. These will allow your child to be more involved in the entire process and empower them to prepare food — safely! — on their own. (Plus, who wouldn’t mind deputizing some of the chopping duties?)
  • Need a little more guidance and inspiration? Try a monthly cooking-kit subscription. There are quite a few options out there these days. Some provide just the recipes and tools needed; others conveniently deliver the actual ingredients as well. A few to check out: Raddish Kitchen Kids, Kidstir and Baketivity.  
  • Need practical starter ideas for what to cook? Try one of Freeman’s healthy and fun-to-make recipes for kid chefs
  • Select dishes that incorporate as many colorful, textural and flavorful fruits and vegetables as possible. Colorful foods are fun and incredibly nutritious, which is a win-win when cooking for and with kids. Freeman breaks down all the different colors and their nutritious punch.
  • So, what happens when you successfully prepare a meal with your kiddos and then they still won’t eat it? Don’t boil over! Freeman suggests you employ her “No-thank-you bite” method. She explains: “One day, I gave up [trying to make them eat everything on their plate] and said, ‘Okay, take one bite. If you don’t like it, say, “No, thank you,” and we’re done.’” Bingo! Children’s tastes are constantly changing, and what they didn’t like yesterday, they may well love tomorrow, so keep trying. 
  • Another strategy to avoid feeding frustration is to create meals in a build-your-own format, where diners can customize the toppings or fillings to their own preference. Some kid-(taste)-tested examples: tacos, pizza, rice bowls and omelets.

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