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

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