The in Marlboro believes cooking is a life skill that extends beyond the kitchen.
The kids and teens cooking school offers lessons in healthy living, independence, confidence and self-esteem.
"It's something they can share with other people...that skill goes so much further," said Dani Heath, manager of the academy.
Seven years ago, the Young Chefs Academy became the first franchise to open after the company began in Texas. Since then, it has continued to grow and offer more programs.
The school offers classes for everyone from 3 and up, including specialty classes for kids and teens with developmental disabilities. The cooking surrounds themes, such as last month's Julia Child kids recipes, where kids not only learned cooking, but French as well.
The Young Chefs Academy focuses on healthy living, steering kids away from the fast-paced lifestyle of the drive-thru and into quick and easy recipes with healthy ingredients.
Everything is made from scratch. From cream puff pastry dough and filling to homemade pesto sauce and sun-dried tomatoes on a whole wheat dough, students are learning every step.
Heath said the classes aren't just about putting meals together, but instead about helping kids understand that what they put in their bodies matters. And, cooking becomes something kids learn and can share with their families and friends.
"They have something they can be really proud of, that they are doing by themselves," Heath said.
The truth is, not every kid or teen has the skill for team sports, of even the desire to participate. The Young Chefs Academy offers a way to learn and socialize, while passing on valuable, lifelong habits.
"Everything is always on the go, so fast-paced, which doesn't always mean the healthiest choices. If [the students] can get these basic skills, they can take care of themselves. We teach quick, healthy meals."
Classes for kids and teens with developmental disabilities include much more than cooking. The Academy and several other businesses in the building offer , gymnastics, music, yoga, art and more.
What is offered?
The Young Chefs Academy has something for everyone, including family workshops where parents can be involved in the fun.
- For students with developmental disabilities:
-Activities of Daily Living, which are private cooking classes over 12 weeks, offering an education in well-balanced meals and basic life skills to encourage independence and self-esteem with emphasis on proper food handling and the safe use of kitchen tools. $96 per two-hour session.
-The Day Program works with businesses in the entire building, offering , gymnastics, music, yoga, art and more. $760 for 8 weeks, three days a week.
-Family Night Out, encourages parents to become involved with student chefs, with a different theme each scheduled night. $35 per student, $15 for each additional family member.
- KinderCooks Classes
-For young chefs between the ages of 3 and 6. Themes include shapes, numbers, colors and more in small class sizes with a parent to accompany each child. Everything cooks in one and a half hours, accomading the "pre-school attention span."
- Young Chefs
-Up to 6 months of classes, which include an apron, bag, recipe binder, kitchen tools and 10 percent off of birthday parties and special events. $35 per class for non-members, prices vary depending on commitment.
- Summer Mini-Camps
-1 week, 3 days per week for 3 hours. Learn everything from making popsicles to hors d'oeuvres for Labor Day. $135 per session.
- Family Workshops
-encourages parents to become involved with student chefs, with a different theme each scheduled night. $35 per student, $12 for each additional family member.
More classes as well as all prices and schedules can be found at the Young Chefs Academy website.