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.
9:00 AM

Kansas City Area Welcomes Young Chefs Academy

Young Chefs Academy is in the midst of an exciting growth phase, and recently arrived in Lenexa, Kansas to provide a warm, welcoming outlet for children to build their culinary passions and interests. Franchise owner Julia Krumme kicked off the Grand Opening with an open house, which included a ribbon cutting and fun cooking activities for kids.

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Kansas City native and Young Chefs Academy founder, Julie Burleson, was very excited to attend the Grand Opening and said she "couldn't be happier to see our concept launching where I grew up."

The event garnered the eye of the media, and the Kansas City Business Journal ran a story announcing the opening. Click here to read the full story, and check out the pictures below! 

9:00 AM

Corporate Headquarters in Waco Garner Press Coverage

As increasing numbers of children discover just how rewarding it is to cook, the unique franchise opportunity at Young Chefs Academy continues to shine.

Recently, CEO and founder Julie Burleson was interviewed for the Waco Tribune-Herald, where Young Chefs Academy is based, about the brand’s impressive national expansion plans. Julie also spoke about the special place the brand holds in the lives of the students it influences. 


“The welcoming environment provides a ‘real’ setting so that the students can take what they learn at YCA to their own homes,” Burleson said. “The kitchen is the pulse of the home, where we learn about life and each other. We strive to nourish those values and give kids an innovative environment to learn and thrive.”

Click here to read the full story in the Waco Tribune-Herald.

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

10:36 AM

Make the Holidays Sweeter with Prizes from Young Chefs Academy

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Young Chefs Academy is getting in the holiday spirit – and encouraging other young food lovers to do the same – with a gingerbread house decorating contest! Whether it’s built in the comfort of your own home or at one of Young Chefs Academy’s interactive Holiday Gingerbread House Workshops, you can share a photo of your decorated gingerbread house creation for a chance to win Young Chefs Academy prizes.

For a chance to win the grand prize of a free Young Chefs Academy private party for up to 10 people, as well as several other great prizes, submit a photo on the Young Chefs Academy corporate Facebook page between Nov. 25 and Dec. 21. More details about contest guidelines and prizes can be found on the Facebook page as well. We can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with!

9:43 AM

Get Cooking for the Holidays with Kids

As the holidays approach, some of our favorite flavors are on the tips of everyone’s tongues – peppermint, chocolate, pumpkin, chestnut and gingerbread. Between family get-togethers, school parties and extracurricular activities, there’s often a lot of cooking involved, too – perfect for sharing family favorites and trying out new recipes to add to the holiday repertoire!

There’s no better time to get the kids involved in cooking than around the holidays. This could be a wonderful opportunity to teach your children how to make a traditional family favorite that they, in turn, will pass on to their families in the future. With a patient hand and a watchful eye, you could be raising up a Young Chef in no time!

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Here are some compelling reasons to get the kids involved in cooking this holiday season:

•Children are more willing to try nutritious and healthy food if they help prepare it themselves – with the rising rate of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, this emphasis on self-taught nutrition is more important than ever.

•Kids who don’t know how to cook often rely on packaged foods of questionable nutritional value for snacks and meals. One survey showed that 87 percent of 4th through 8th grade students cook or make some of their own meals – wouldn’t it be great if the food they were preparing was healthful instead of microwaved or filled with sodium, corn syrup and food dyes?

At Young Chefs Academy, the culinary education teaches more than simply cooking skills. Kids learn organization, self-reliance, motivation, teamwork and sanitation in an environment that fosters creativity, curiosity and lifelong learning.

For more information on the Young Chefs Academy franchise opportunity, educating tomorrow’s community leaders in the culinary arts, please visit

9:20 AM

Thanksgiving Baking with Kids: Pumpkin Mini Tarts

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we can’t stop thinking about the big feast…and we know that our Young Chefs are excited to show off their culinary skills to friends and family!

If you’re looking for a delicious, easily portable dessert to make or share, try these Spiced Pumpkin Mini-Tarts - they’re sure to get anyone in the holiday spirit!

This recipe uses a refrigerated pie crust, but some of our ambitious Young Chefs like to make their own homemade crusts. Check out the recipe below, and share your photos with us on Facebook and Twitter


• 24 tarts

• 1 pkg. (15 oz.) refrigerated pie crusts
• 1 can (15 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
• 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
• 1 pkg. (3.4 oz. ) cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling
• 1⁄4 cup confectioner’s sugar
• 1⁄4 cup chopped pecans
• 1 small orange, zested

• Measuring cups and spoons
• Mini-muffin tins
• Round cookie cutter-31⁄2 in.
• Large bowl
• Whisk
• Hand sieve
• Pastry bag or zipper baggie

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Roll the pie crust into a 12-inch circle. Using a 31⁄2 inch cookie cutter, round or scalloped, cut out 12 pastry pieces. Do this with the second crust.
3) Press one pastry piece into each cup of a mini-muffin pan. With a fork, pierce the bottom of each pastry. You should have 24 tart shells.
4) Bake the pastries for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove tart shells from pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.
5) To prepare the filling: Combine the pumpkin, whipped topping, and spice in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the dry pudding; whisk until smooth and thickened. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6) Lightly sprinkle tart shells with powdered sugar. Pipe the pumpkin mixture into shells with the star tip of a pastry bag, or you can use a zipper baggie as a pastry bag.
7) Sprinkle with pecans and top with a little bit of orange zest.

10:48 AM

Celebrate National Apple Cider Day with Us!

Hot, delicious apple cider is a fall/winter favorite around the world. Try our tasty Young Chefs Academy Caramel Apple Cider recipe at home to celebrate National Apple Cider Day on November 18!

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• 4 servings

• 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
• 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
• 3 cups apple cider
• 1⁄2 cup water
• Caramel Whipped Cream: 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
• 1 Tbsp. brown sugar


• Measuring cups and spoons Medium saucepan
• Chilled bowl
• Electric mixer or whisk
1) Bring the cream and brown sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cider and the water and raise the heat to medium high, heating just until the cider begins to steam, about 4 minutes.
2) Caramel Whipped Cream: In a small chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with the brown sugar until soft peaks form.

To Serve
Divide cider among 4 mugs, top each one with 2 tablespoons of caramel whipped cream and serve immediately.

8:39 AM

Young Chefs Academy Reflects on MasterChef Junior as Season Four Premiers Tonight

One of our favorite shows on TV is MasterChef Junior - not only is it inspiring and fun, but we’re often able to spot some familiar faces on the show as we’ve had two Young Chefs Academy students as contestants!

Josh from New York City competed in season two and Riley from Carrollton, Texas was a contestant during season three. Young Chefs Academy isn’t just a cooking school - we’re providing fantastic opportunities for talented youngsters like Josh and Riley to compete at a national level alongside other world-class kid cooks. We couldn’t be prouder of Josh and Riley, and we absolutely love to see their passion for cooking continue to come to life in our kitchens and beyond.


Pictured above: YCA student Kaitlyn Nidhan who appeared on ABC’s “The Chew” (middle); Josh from season two of MasterChef Junior (right).


Pictured above: Riley from season three of MasterChef Junior (left).

11:52 AM

Young Chefs Academy Founder Featured in Female Entrepreneur Magazine

Young Chefs Academy’s fun, unique concept and irresistible franchise opportunity continue to make headlines across the country as increasing numbers of Young Chefs learn just how rewarding it is to be creatively fulfilled.

The entire Young Chefs team works tirelessly to ensure that every student has a top-notch experience and every franchisee gets the opportunity to experience a truly gratifying entrepreneurial path.

Recently, CEO and founder Julie Burleson was profiled in Female Entrepreneur in a Q&A-style article that dug deep into her background, the beginnings of Young Chefs Academy and where she sees the company growing in the future.


“I do what I do for so many reasons,” said Julie in the article. “Not only is this a viable business with unlimited opportunities for success, but YCA makes a positive, sometimes life-changing, impact on so many children’s lives, and it’s not just learning to cook. It’s the friendships and bonds these kids make during our classes.”

Click here to read the full story in Female Entrepreneur.

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

1:39 PM

Celebrate Pumpkin Cheesecake Day with a Recipe from Young Chefs Academy!

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day is Wednesday, October 21 - a holiday we can certainly get behind! We’re in the full swing of pumpkin season, and what better way to celebrate than with an autumn twist on everyone’s favorite decadent dessert? This is a must-have for any holiday table this season.


•12-16 servings

*For the crust:
•15-16 (1 1⁄2 cups) graham crackers, crumbs 2 Tbsp. sugar
•1⁄4 cup butter, melted
•1 cup semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips
*For the cheesecake:
•1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, melted
•3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature 1 cup sugar
•1⁄4 cup light brown sugar, packed
•1 3⁄4 cups (16 oz.) can pumpkin puree
•4 eggs, room temperature
•1⁄2 cup evaporated milk
•1⁄4 cup cornstarch
•3⁄4 tsp. cinnamon, ground
•1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground

•10-inch spring form pan
•Food processor
•Mixing bowls
•Microwave safe bowls
•Measuring cups/spoons
•Stand mixer or hand held beater
•Baking sheet
•Piping bag or plastic zip top bag
•Rubber spatula
•Wooden Skewer or table knife

1) Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2) For the crust: Place the graham crackers in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Remove the crumbs and place in a mixing bowl; add the sugar and melted butter and mix to combine.
3) Place the crumb mixture in the bottom of the spring form pan; pack the crumbs into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the bottom of the prepared crust. Set aside.
4) For the cheesecake: In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and microwave on half power in 30 second cycles and stirring the chocolate between each cycle. It should take 2-3 cycles. Set aside.
5) In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and brown sugar until smooth.
6) Add in the pumpkin puree and continue beating. Add in the eggs and milk and continue to beat. Scrape down the bowl making sure the batter stays smooth.
7) Add in the cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg and blend until smooth.
8) Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.
9) Place the melted chocolate in a small piping bag; pipe circles on the top of the cheesecake batter. Using a butter knife or wooden skewer run the knife through the chocolate on the top making a swirly pattern.
10) Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Allow the cake to bake for 1 hour or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the filling is set (not jiggly).
11) When the cake is done turn off the heat and allow it to sit in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely. Run a table knife around the edges to loosen the sides of the pan and remove the side.
12) Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for several hours before slicing and serving.


12:56 PM

Young Chefs Academy Joins Cooking Legends on The Chew!

At Young Chefs Academy, we know that there are no limits to what kids can do when equipped with solid skills, encouragement and a free sense of creativity. One of our students, Kaitlyn, was recently featured on ABC’s The Chew alongside celebrity chefs and TV personalities Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly. She created the recipe for, and cooked on air, her very own Chicken and Prosciutto Roulade.

Kaitlyn was able to check a major item off her bucket list – meeting Mario Batali! We think she knocked it out of the park and was a natural on air.

Kaitlyn is an active Junior Chef at the Forest Hills, New York location and has been taking classes for more than two years. Check out the great photos to see just how bright our young stars can shine! Young Chefs Academy is proud of you, Kaitlyn!



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