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.
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 2017. 

"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.

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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!

5:34 PM

Young Chefs Academy Joins Food Network Magazine for Back-To-School Open House Events

Something’s always cooking at Young Chefs Academy! As the school year kicks off, Young Chefs Academy locations nationwide are hosting Food Network Magazine Back-To-School open house events. These fun culinary events featuring back-to-school snack recipes, cooking demonstrations, prizes, samples and kitchen safety tips, all at interactive stations.

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Despite the devastating flood conditions, Young Chefs Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was able to bring a much-needed distraction to their community through their event where kids and families could take a break and enjoy the festivities. Young Chefs Academy in Seminole, Florida, combined their open house events with their grand opening, hosting over 400 members of the community, providing them with interactive, culinary fun. 

Stay connected with your local Young Chefs Academy here, and stay tuned for more fun, interactive culinary events!

8:00 AM

Young Chefs Academy of North Druid Hills, Ga. Explores Unique Ice Cream Flavors for Summer

Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, coffee. . . there’s nothing wrong with the classic ice cream flavors, but with a Young Chef in the family, why not go one step further and create a totally different, delicious ice cream that utilizes the best ingredients of summer?

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There’s nothing like summer corn – sweet and versatile, it begs to be used in every meal from June through September. Ice cream is no exception – a sweet corn puree can be strained and added to the typical ice cream base. Try mixing in crushed pieces of caramel corn for a crunchy, seasonal treat!

Stone fruit is beautiful during the summer – why not add diced peaches or nectarines to a pistachio ice cream base? The nuttiness of pistachios is perfectly balanced by chunks of fresh, sweet fruit.

And don’t stop here! Let your imagination run wild – and don’t forget to show us your creations! Visit our Facebook page here and show us how you’re cooling off this summer.

This post was written by Lynlee Bradley, the owner of Young Chefs Academy of Druid Hills, Georgia.

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