Sometimes finicky eaters can become fascinated by food when they have a hand in making it themselves. The Kids' Table's proprietor Elena Marre discovered this with her own sons when they started helping her prepare meals. Eventually she took this idea and created her own family cooking school geared toward children aged 2–16.
During classes, kids prep produce at tot-sized countertops and sinks. They whisk together ingredients with tools calibrated to their little hands as they learn to appreciate varied flavors and textures apart from “plain” and “unslimey.” Parents can get in on the action by working alongside their tots during classes or by signing up to learn how to make baby food, create family meals, or please picky eaters.
Chef Naveen Sachar elucidates the fine art of Indian-fare preparation during a live BYOB cooking demonstration at Naveen’s Cuisine. Customers who opt for the demonstration-and-dinner night, held bimonthly, quickly find themselves enthralled by Naveen’s zest for northern-Indian delicacies as he chops and combines meats and vegetables before simmering them into sumptuous and spicy dishes. To enlighten and entertain his audience, the chef proffers extensive knowledge of Indian cuisine, cooking techniques, and terrifying anecdotes of mutinous kitchens throughout the demonstration. When the steaming entrees—be they masala, masoor dal, or murgh curry—announce their readiness by filling the room with their tantalizing aromas, patrons sit down to partake of a multiple-course dinner with their new comrades, allowing bottled drinks brought from home to lubricate conversation about the demonstration, their favorite dishes, and whether their esteemed chef might have an equally talented bachelor brother.
Pied Piper Parties & Playschool provides enriching play for children of all ages with active classes and themed events. Using her experience working at a Montessori preschool, Stephanie Williams oversees the youth playschool and camp, while colleague chef Janelle Rinehart leads hands-on cooking classes that introduce nutrition and discuss where dinner comes from and why it can never go back. Youth playschool helps children 5 months–3 years gain social skills with four progressive classes filled with music, art projects, and story time. In cooking classes, youths up to 10 years old prepare sweet and savory treats with supervised use of cooking equipment. Two-hour parties celebrate kids with custom themes ranging from dinosaurs to princesses, and include games, cake, and take-home gift bags.
The Chef Du Jour provides catering/event planning, cooking classes, and personal chef services. A Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Chef Rita will provide you with mouth-watering food, or teach you the skills to do it yourself through interactive classes.
Within a show room at Naperville’s Liam Brex, fresh, seasonal ingredients mix in the air amid equally stimulating home-entertaining instruction. The chefs and home-entertainment experts spice students’ creativity with menu ideas and hands-on training in preparation for hosting dinner parties, brunches, or social gatherings. During cooking classes, chefs reveal their expert techniques before allowing students to sit down to a full meal of their creation, paired with a wine from Peterson Spirits & Fine Wines.
Classically trained in the culinary arts, the friendly chefs at A Kid's Kitchen help tykes tap their foodie instincts during hands-on classes in a peanut- and nut-free environment. One-time sessions and class series feature topics from twisting soft pretzels to adorning cakes with fondant to crafting perfectly aerodynamic food-fighting weapons, with topics geared to please different age ranges. Summer camps keep kids engaged during school's off-season, and birthday parties entertain groups with edible festivity. Additionally, parents can order custom cakes and pastries from the kitchen, which also dishes its desserts from a space free of peanuts, tree nuts, or allergy-inducing political discourse.
Redeem today's Groupon for any one of Ranjana's four classes: Everyday North Indian Lunch, Muglai Cooking, South Indian Dinner, and Quick Complete Meals. Each class teaches you nine different Indian dishes, all vegetarian. After your first session with Ranjana, you'll probably want to go buffet-style and try the others. Classes are available Mondays or Wednesdays from 6:15-9:15 pm or Saturdays from 9 am to noon. Call Ranjana in advance at (773) 355-9559 to RSVP. (Classes are intimate and fill up quickly; dates are subject to availability).