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Cool cooking school makes healthy eating fun for kids

Last week I got to check out one of the coolest places in town – The Hungry Oven cooking school for kids.

It’s such an obvious concept when you think about teaching kids healthy eating habits and kitchen safety, but this culinary school is likely the only one of its kind in Canada.

Based in North Vancouver, The Hungry Oven is beautifully designed with colourful, state-of-the-art kid friendly kitchens that alone will inspire anyone to cook with joy.

That’s the whole point said founder Debby Tonn. “This place is all about getting kids from 4-16 years old to have fun in the kitchen, build friendships and learn new skills under the direction of professionally trained and safety-minded chefs.”

At the end of each class, the young chefs are encouraged to have one bite of their theme-based creations. This is important because, for example, one bite persuaded a student that broccoli can taste good if cooked the right way (par-boiled) and served with something interesting.

The response has been really positive from the young people and their parents. During my tour of the School, 10-year old cooking enthusiast Sabine exposed my archaic kitchen skills with her expert knife handling demo and menu plan for an upcoming family meal.

In addition to summer camps, kids can celebrate their birthdays with a theme-based cooking class.

The Hungry Oven definitely has an edgy concept and their entree recipes are taught with whole, local foods. I hope that they will introduce more healthier, alternative ingredients in their sweet items that may enhance the School’s appeal.

Their presence is facilitating a culture shift within local families where more children are watching Food Network shows and want to be involved in the kitchen but need the right training and encouragement to shine.

Adults too can learn to cook at The Hungry Oven. Additional programs will be offered soon and women are invited to their Firehouse Cooking Event in support of Sage House for Women and Children.

Debby Tonn’s story

In March of 2010, Debby was visiting New York with her husband with no plans to change her life as a stay home mum of 20-years.

Until lightning struck when she read an article about two mothers who presented cooking classes for kids in people’s homes.

She knew she could do better in Vancouver with a cooking school. Her daughters were grown and she could apply her culinary training from the Pacific Culinary Institute to the business.

As if it was all meant to be, Debby’s design and entrepreneurial talents streamed out and she opened The Hungry Oven one year later in May 2011.

More than 1,000 kids have cooked at The Hungry Oven. There’s room for plenty more in this place of fun and food.

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