Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Into food, family, or franchising? You're in the right place. The recipe for blogging here at YCA is to keep it simple, entertaining, educational, and to the point. We take one simple concept and give you our unique perspective.
From our franchisees, our students, or our corporate staff - if you hear it here, you know it's all us, all original and all fresh. We might tell you the story of a bright young chef who taught his instructor a few things, then next maybe the latest culinary trend (beef tongue sliders?). There is nothing ordinary about any of our franchises, and we delight in sharing the extraordinary "scoop"! Enjoy, comment, and please share.
9:17 AM

Break Out The Waffle Iron In Honor Of National Hot Breakfast Month!


There’s nothing better than waking up after a great night’s sleep to the sounds and sweet smells of breakfast cooking in the other room….Ahhhhhh…..

Anthony Bourdain couldn’t have said it any better – “What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?” 

In honor of National Hot Breakfast Month, toss the frozen toaster options back in the freezer and make something delectable for friends and family that will have their mouth watering in anticipation!  Our Young Chefs tested this delicious twist on your ordinary waffles….Orange Waffles with Orange Maple Syrup ~ sweet Belgian waffles with a hint of tangy citrus.  All we can say is D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.  (and super easy!)!

Simply serve these up with a few orange slices on the side and your favorite protein (we’re thinking bacon…who doesn’t like bacon?).  But be careful!  You may become the family’s sole designated breakfast chef!

Happy #BakeForFamilyFunMonth!

Orange Waffles with Orange Maple Syrup


For the waffles:
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 medium oranges, zest and juice
  • Club soda
For the syrup:
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup orange juice


  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Spoon or whisk
  • Microplane
  • Waffle iron
  • Plate
  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups


  1. Preheat the waffle iron. Preheat oven to 200°F.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to just combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and melted butter together. Fold into the dry ingredients until the flour is just moistened.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, add the zest and juice of both oranges. Add enough club soda to make 1 ¼ cups of liquid. Add this to the flour mixture and fold in until it is just combined. Set aside and let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Cook the waffles in the waffle iron until they are crisp and golden brown. Keep warm while cooking the rest of the waffle batter. Serve with the orange maple syrup.
  6. For the syrup:  In a small sauce pan, add the maple syrup and orange juice. Heat to a simmer until the syrup is warm and combined with the orange juice.
  7. Remove from the heat and serve while still warm with the orange waffles.

about 6 servings

Note: if desired, ¾ cup toasted, chopped pecans can be added to the batter. Add the pecans in with the dry ingredients.

9:45 AM

"Bake For Family Fun" Makes Game Day That Much More Delicious!

Picture this….you’ve been invited to the ultimate Super Bowl Party where everyone brings a delicious snack to share.  Should you stick to the old fallback recipe of football shaped cookies?  7-layer dip?  Cocktail sausages slathered in BBQ Sauce?  No way!  You want to bring something that stands out from the rest.  Twist things up a bit with delicious, savory Parmesan Garlic Pretzels!   These soft pretzels are just as good with or without dipping sauce! 


Our Young Chefs have tons of fun making these pretzels. There’s a lot of science happening behind-the-scenes when making a yeast dough. During class, we talk about how different ingredients cause specific reactions when brought together during the making of this simple recipe. It’s like a crazy science experiment happening without you even realizing it! It’s really kind of amazing!

For instance, we teach how yeast is a living plant which breathes and grows (sounds like a scary movie, right!?). It thrives on the sugar added to dough which produces a gas that stretches the dough and causes it to rise, and how certain proteins form gluten when mixed with a liquid which gives an elastic quality to the dough. But, we’ll skip the whole science lesson from here and move onto the recipe!

Check out the recipe and tips below!

(We brought in a couple of our test kitchen teens to show their stuff!)

Parmesan Garlic Pretzels


  • 1 ¾ cup warm water, divided
  • ½ tsp. plus a pinch of dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup bread flour
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Pepperoni slices (optional)
  • ½ tsp. dried, minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet butter
  • Pizza sauce for dipping (optional)


  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Bowls
  • Wooden spoons
  • Baking sheet
  • Cooking spray
  • Towel
  • Pastry brush


  1.  In a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast onto ¾ cup warm water; stir to dissolve.  Add sugar and salt; stir until dissolved.  Stir in both flours and knead dough until smooth and elastic*.  Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and let rise ½ hour.
  2. Place cheese into a pie pan.  Set aside.
  3. It’s time to start twisting!  After dough has risen, cut strips of dough that measure 1 ½” x 8”.  Shape each strip of dough into a cigar shape and then use the palms of your hands to roll the dough back and forth against the counter.  Start in the middle of strip.  Work from the middle of the dough and press outward as you roll to lengthen the rope.  Roll each piece into a rope ½” x 24” (about the thickness of your finger).  Do not over-roll the rope.  Shape into a pretzel.
  4. Prepare a baking soda water bath by mixing baking soda with 1 cup warm water. Stir water bath often.  (Note:  If the soda does not fizz, it’s not fresh!)
  5. Dip pretzels into soda solution, place on towel to drain excess.  Dip the face of each pretzel in cheese mixture and place on greased baking sheet.  If using pepperoni, place approximately 6 pepperonis on each pretzel.  Let rest again for 25 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees while pretzels rest.
  7. Melt butter in the microwave, then add the garlic.  Let sit while pretzels bake.
  8. Bake pretzels for 5 minutes on the center rack.  After 5 minutes, use oven mitts to rotate the tray 180 degrees and bake an additional 4-5 minute or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and brush tops with melted butter mixture.  Serve with pizza sauce or use any remaining garlic butter for dipping.  Makes 6 large (5-6”) pretzels.

Additional Tips:
  • It’s important to use warm water here as it allows the yeast to activate and start to grow so the dough will rise.  
  • Not sure if your kneaded long enough?  *Try the “Poke” test to make sure the kneading process is complete after about 4-10 minutes, or when the dough is smooth, satiny and elastic.  You’ll know it’s ready when you give it a little “poke” and the dough springs back!
  • If your rope starts to shrink back a bit, roll it partway, let it rest and then roll it out the rest of the way!

10:00 AM

What Gifts Do We Cherish the Most?

The holidays are here…we can almost taste it.  The joyful time of year when reflection of years past provides a warm glow to the season.  This time of year, all of us at Young Chefs Academy reflect on what the season truly means to us.  Dr. Seuss couldn’t have said it any better:  "'Maybe Christmas', he thought, 'doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!'"  Oh, that Dr. Seuss got to the heart of it with that simple sentence.   However, we feel it means a WHOLE lot more!

As we reminisce on the many ways our Young Chefs family and community has grown this past year ~ whether it be how our students were empowered to give back during our Cookies for Kids Cancer events, our amazing new Franchise Owners we welcomed into the fold, or our veteran Franchise Owners who have grown with us over the years ~ we are filled with thankfulness for each one of them

With that in mind, we asked those in our franchise family what gifts they cherished most this season.  Our hearts grew a little bigger with each story:

I cherish the stories kids and their families bring back to YCA, how they cooked what they learned or applied the technique. It is so rewarding to know that such a lil' push from the kitchen brings families together!”  ~Chef Nora - YCA Frisco, TX Owner  (

“The gift I cherish the most from being a YCA franchise owner is seeing the kids get satisfaction out of creating a recipe.  They get so excited knowing they created something so delicious and they are proud to share what they made with their loved ones. This is something I have in common with them and is the reason why I wanted to own a YCA, I am so lucky to share my love of cooking with these kids and hopefully they will grow up and continue to share their passion and love for it too.”  ~ Chefs Tina & Sebastian– YCA New City, NY Owner  (

“My favorite thing is watching the kids grow within our program, not just with their culinary skills, but in their lives, real positive change.  It makes everything we do worthwhile.  These kids become like family and their parents do too.”  ~ Chef Kristen – YCA Richmond, VA Owner  (

"What Karen and I cherish the most is when we hear from our students or their parents that they use our YCA recipes for family meals. We also hear from several students that they have created a tradition to bring a homemade YCA recipe to every special family gathering. We are thrilled to help in those traditions." ~ Chef Chris & Karen – YCA Forest Hills, NY Owner  (


What’s our New Year’s Resolution?  To bring the life-long skill of cooking to even more children and teens across the globe ~ in a way only YCA can do!

Wishing you all a very delicious Christmas and many moments to savor in the New Year…from our kitchen to yours.

For more information on Young Chefs Academy and franchising opportunities, visit

10:00 AM

With Visions Of Gingerbread Dancing In Our Heads….

Behind-the-scenes during the holiday season

The holidays are a special time of year for all of us at Young Chefs Academy. ~ with families streaming into our YCA kitchens, excited to create their own one-of-a-kind gingerbread houses dripping with sweet icicles and candied walls.  Everyone quickly gets busy at work, stopping only long enough to sip hot chocolate and contemplate their handiwork, all the while humming along to familiar holiday tunes that fill the air….creating priceless memories as plain brown walls transform into winter wonderlands.

While the time and preparation that goes in to pulling these workshops together may seem daunting for most, our Young Chefs owners see this as a joyous labor of love.  Behind-the-scenes, Young Chefs Academy staff  (or family, as most of our owners call them) busily craft gingerbread platforms, assemble candied stations, adhere walls with royal icing all while adding a little holiday fun to the mix. 

Gahanna, OH YCA Franchise owner, Jill Jacobs, shared how she and her staff members keep things festive during the hustle and bustle of gingerbread house construction:

“[We] have a plastic elf that is dressed like a chef.  For some reason, he scares the staff.  So every year, we hide him in crazy places for other teachers to find.  He may be under somebody's coat, in the microwave, and one year he mailed himself to North Carolina where a beloved teacher moved while her husband, a Marine, was deployed.”

“We all have our favorite candies.  I love sour warheads, Hannah loves spearmint leaves, Kelsey loves Rips.  We can usually tell who works that day, because their favorite candy will be really low.”

And then the real magic begins when the doors open to welcome the families into the kitchen…excited faces eager to get their hands on the many tempting confections; families laughing together as they help their child plan their masterpiece; staff members sharing tips and tricks they’ve learned over the many years of hosting these events, and most importantly; the pride and accomplishment of their creation coming to fruition.  These are what memories are made of from start to finish.  “You’re only a kid once, right,” states Manager Kelsey Borger during an interview with The Columbus Dispatch (view full article here: 

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Gingerbread House Decorating Workshops are currently in full-swing at YCA locations across the nation. Come join us to start making your own holiday memories at a location near you!

To find an event near you, visit

For more information on Young Chefs Academy and franchising opportunities, visit

3:39 PM

Young Chefs Academy Brings the Joy and Value of Cooking To Rogers

Young Chefs Academy takes pride in the exceptional group of franchise owners who share a passion in bringing the joy and value of cooking to the lives of children in their communities.  This is the common thread that creates a bond regardless of the diverse backgrounds and experiences each bring to the table.    

One of the biggest challenges that must be faced at Young Chefs Academy [and in most franchise systems] is finding like-minded individuals who appreciate a proven business model in a successful business system while grasping the company culture.  “Meet the Team Day” is a key component during the exploration process for a prospective franchisee and for the corporate staff.  This one-on-one meeting allows all involved to determine if this potential venture will result in a positive connection.

From the moment we met Alfonso and Mary Vidal during their first Discovery Day in Waco, TX, we knew this couple would be the perfect pair to open up the first national children’s cooking school for children and teens of Rogers, AR.   And again, during the 5-day training session at Corporate Headquarters, both provided a stellar example of working within a proven business model and mastering the concepts to become a success.

And now, the fruits of their labor are coming to fruition.  The couple eagerly anticipate opening their doors for the first time on December 3, 2016, just in time for the holidays, hosting workshops, camps and a sprinkling of free classes before their Grand Opening in January 2016. 

"We are blessed to live in such an amazing community, full of great people, culture and beautiful sights,” states Alfonso.  “We wanted to bring Young Chefs Academy to Northwest Arkansas, because we feel it will be a great addition, learning cooking skills and healthy habits will be an important part of our children's  life. 

We love spending time with children and cooking. With YCA we will be able to do all of this. Food is also a great way to travel around the world without using your air miles, we will take a tour to many many different places and cultures."

YCA of Rogers is located at 5208 Village Parkway Suite 6, Rogers, AR.  For more information on upcoming events and classes, visit their website and join the mailing list for special email-exclusive offers:

For more information on Young Chefs Academy and franchising opportunities, visit

4:33 PM

New Young Chefs Academy Location Earns Acclaim through Local Media Coverage

Young Chefs Academy holds a special place in our communities – connecting in so many meaningful ways with local families who put their trust in us. Given this compelling dynamic between Young Chefs Academy and our students/families, we’re able to attract positive media attention across multiple platforms locally and nationwide.

Recently, Young Chefs Academy’s new Seminole, Florida location and franchisee, Jessica Yuen, was featured in the Seminole Beacon, the main daily print publication in her local market. Profiled as a business leader and talented entrepreneur, the feature piece demonstrates just how rewarding it has been for Jessica to transition into business ownership through a concept that allows her to be creatively fulfilled while enriching the community.


Clearly, Jessica has made an emotional investment in Young Chefs Academy, which she discusses is similar to how much she cares about her family and community.

“Food brings families together. It’s a representation of love to me,” says Yuen in the article. “[We are teaching] life skills. What a great idea to teach them to children, who can continue them on.”

Click here to read the full story in the Seminole Beacon.

For more information on Young Chefs Academy and franchising opportunities, visit

4:31 PM

YCA Franchise Owner Offers Advice on How to Better Utilize Kitchen Space

We’re all guilty of it – countertops and drawers get cluttered with small appliances, tools and gadgets that may or may not serve a specific purpose. Many home cooks eschew one-use tools (think garlic presses, meat claws and egg cubers) because of the space they take up – so this fall, why not take a closer look at your kitchen gadget drawer, and see where some cuts can be made?

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Some of our favorite ways to cut down on clutter:

• Invest in a quality chefs knife. Egg cutters, avocado slicers, scallion shredders and more can be tossed, recycled or donated – a sharp knife will make easy work of these kitchen tasks.

• Dig out the shredding disks on your food processor. Remember those metal plates that came in the food processor box? They’re probably in a cabinet somewhere, possibly still in their bags. Find them, give them a wash and put them to good use – you can shred, puree and thinly slice food with ease!

At Young Chefs Academy, we teach our students the value of organization – not only to save space, but also as a way to be aware of time and cleanliness while cooking.
What are your favorite ways to organize your kitchen? Share your photos with us on our Facebook page here!

This post was written by Julie Krumme, the owner of Young Chefs Academy of Lenexa, Kansas.

4:24 PM

Usher in the Flavors of Fall with This Tasty Recipe!

This fall, Young Chefs Academy is fully embracing the flavors of the season, utilizing the freshest ingredients to enhance the recipes we teach to our ambitious Young Chefs. This year, we’ve got pumpkin on our minds!

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One of our favorite recipes to make with our Young Chefs is Spiced Pumpkin Mini Tarts – not only is it a portable treat, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to work on pastry skills such as piping, blind-baking crusts and decoration. Check out the recipe below – and for an extra challenge, make your own pie crust! We like this recipe.

We’d love to see how your Spiced Pumpkin Mini Tarts turn out – post a picture and tag us on Instagram, or share it to our Facebook page! Happy baking!

11:32 AM

When You Join Young Chefs Academy, You’re Joining a Family

If you’re looking into franchising, chances are you’re comparing several different concepts to find the best fit. You’re probably looking for the perfect blend of franchisee support, great ROI and growth potential. With so many brands to decide from, why should you choose Young Chefs Academy?

Simple: with Young Chefs Academy, you’re never alone. You’re joining a network of like-minded entrepreneurs who are passionate about education, cooking and positively impacting their communities. Our robust, curated curriculum is taught in detail during training, which extends past the opening period into an ongoing internal education program to keep our franchisees on top of the latest, greatest trends in food and more.

Training & Support Image

Our franchisees are individuals who are ardent believers positively impacting and changing the lives of children through the planned, written and targeted curriculum. We let you, the franchisee, focus on the children, and provide the operational, marketing and training support you need to be successful.

Through our wide range of expertise, there’s always someone on the Young Chefs Academy team to turn to for answers.

For more information on Young Chefs Academy and franchising opportunities, visit

10:00 AM

Young Chefs Academy Celebrates Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day with Charitable Bake Sale

Giving back is at the heart of the Young Chefs Academy model – it’s something that’s reflected in everything we do. Further to this point, Young Chefs Academy has partnered with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit organization raising funds for research to develop new and improved treatments for pediatric cancer.

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Collaborating closely with the charity through the end of the summer and early fall, each Young Chefs Academy is hosting a bake sale to raise funds for the cause. Events will begin Sept. 13, in conjunction with National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day and National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and will run throughout the month. In addition to the donations collected at the events, Young Chefs Academy is raising funds online for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through customized websites for each of the Academy’s locations.

For the location closest to you, click here. See you there!


© 2015 Young Chefs Academy