As some of you may know in July 2010 I left my job to start a business. I had taught cookery a few afternoons a week in my old school but decided to combine my science background, food geekery along with 5 years experience in education to teach children how to cook. The last year has had huge highs and lows and it’s been one steep learning curve but I don’t regret it. The smile on a child’s face when they finally master something as simple as cracking an egg without shell going everywhere is priceless. I know the market I work in is very different to similar business throughout the country and I tailor the classes depending on the pupils and area. The main goal is for me to provide accessible, realistic, cross-curricular and creative food education for all, no matter your background or budget. One of my business goals is to make enough to fund me to do MSc Food & Nutrition Policy at City. I’m getting there slowly!

My first year in business has culminated in me running my first cookery school for 6-13 year olds over a week in the Summer holiday. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Although I teach cookery weekly this was a different kettle of fish. I was working with kids and parents I knew, however this time was working in a different capacity and I had to prove myself as they had all paid good money to be there. One of the big balancing acts in business is making sure your product or service is affordable, exciting, worthwhile but at the same time you make a profit. Not always easy. Until a month ago I didn’t appreciate how expensive simple things like cardboard cake boxes were!

The classes were spread over 4 days and had different themes: Americas, Picnic, Italy along with Cake & Biscuit decorating. Over the 4 days we cooked from over 18 recipes including baked doughnuts, pasta, pizza, homemade lemonaid, jelly boats, bean burgers and the intrigingly named freezer bag ice cream. The classes were not just about cooking, it was about learning new skills, trying new foods and watching food science in action as well as initiating scientific questioning. While making the pizza dough the children were able to watch a glass of yeast, warm water and sugar come to life and when making the freezer bag ice cream we used an electric thermometer to note the change adding salt to the ice made to the temperature. As well as going home with some of the food they had cooked, the children also had an apron, recipe sheets and biscuit cutter prizes (if they were lucky enough to win them). Lunchtime was based around the family style dining concept where we were all involved with cooking and serving lunch.

A popular part of the week was a cookbook table where the children had a large choice of books to read including Funky Lunch, Fiona Bird’s Kids’ Kitchen, My Daddy Cooks and Revolting Recipes. It was great seeing the kids discussing the recipes and compiling their perfect menus. Given my initial nerves the classes went really well and parents & pupils have asked if there will be classes in the future. The kids have requested I show them how to make black beetle cakes and edible dirt closer to Halloween.

Well the classes will be back, even better than before and as from September I’ll be teaching adults too. If someone had told me 2 years ago I’d be a business owner teaching cookery and being paid to do other foodie things I don’t think I would have believed them. Moral of the story – don’t give up on dreams.

About Jules

Freelance Food Geek who's passionate about food education. Lives with long-suffering Hubs and 3yo Little Baker (LB) not too far from Derby.

Posted on August 15, 2011, in inspiration, life, misc and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Congratulations on forging such a fabulous career path for yourself. It must be so rewarding working with children and teaching them new skills – and you get to cook (and eat) for a living. I love reading your blog and trying out your great recipes – keep up the good work and here’s to many more successful years :-)

  2. Congratulations Jules. So glad that it is working out well for you. Sounds like fun and rewarding work.

  3. Well done, very well deserved. You make it sound so easy but I am sure there is plenty of long hours, hard work and sacrifice that have gone into your successful venture.

  4. Congrats Jules, sounds like the kids had an amazing time, and you’re really making a go of the business. Here’s to never giving up on your dreams!

  5. This is really inspiring reading your story and the huge success the Kids Cooking School was- many congratulations on achieving your dream and all the very very best for the next classes!

  6. Good for you Jules for turning those dreams into reality and for such a good cause.

  7. Well done! I started my own business in January, although in a different field, so understand the highs and lows – but definitely agree – don’t give up on the dream! Hope your business goes from strength to strength.

  8. Congratulations Jules! You’ve worked really hard and your business is flourishing – you’re an inspiration. x

  9. Wow – so brave! :)
    Was thinking yesterday – so many people complain about their job – it’s amazing more people don’t set up on their own.

  10. It’s been such an inspiration hearing how you leapt towards your dreams. Congratulations on all you’ve achieved and learned in the last year. Your commitment and passion shines through. A cookery venue opened in Wellington recently and by all accounts the kids classes are a huge hit. http://www.socialcooking.co.nz/. good luck with all your plans and ambitions for the future.

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