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.
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.
Flip Crêpes got its start on the Chicago Farmers Markets circuit in 2003, slinging its warm and sweet or savory treats to steadily growing flocks of customers. Eventually, the company outgrew its humble beginnings and expanded to a location inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center, where customers stop in for the crowd-pleasing crepes alongside a burgeoning roster of sandwiches and paninis. Four distinct menus address any and all cravings the day might present, including selections that tackle breakfast munchies with eggs and bacon, a passion for the savory with toasted options, salad cravings with fresh and crisp selections, and sweet teeth with desserts chock-full of Nutella, strawberries, and dulce de leche. The tender crepes will only wrap their eggy arms around healthy, high-quality ingredients, so the chefs avoid high-fructose corn syrup and other undesirable foodstuffs.
The Academy's sage chefs coach aspiring cooks ages 4 to 14 through recipes that rotate weekly, covering entrees, sides, desserts, and a host of preparation and presentation techniques. Divided into KinderCooks classes for ages 4–6 (age 3 permitted with adult supervision) and Junior Chefs sessions for ages 7–14, each 90-minute lesson teaches kitchen safety and etiquette before burners are fired up, reminding kids to respect hot or sharp objects, each other, and the last will and testament of broccoli stalks. Students summon two dishes per session from various ingredients, with time set aside to taste their handiwork at the end. Offerings are seasonally themed around available ingredients and upcoming holidays, with September featuring a recipe for Roly Poly stromboli and October pairing jack-o-lantern quesadillas with sinister salsa and Halloween candy pie, which can be offered as a mask to one's least favorite friend.
40 years ago, the initials heading C&D Towing stood for the Cicero & Devon Texaco gas and service station, founded by brothers Val and Joe Strumberger. Today they've come to stand for "Capable and Dependable," the values carried by the tow truck drivers who rescue cars and trucks of all sizes from a future spent trying fruitlessly to hitch a ride from passing semis. Along with gently rolling vehicles onto a fleet of handsome red trucks, C&D's technicians can protect and resuscitate them with services including jumpstarts, tire changes, seasonal safety checks, and electrical work.