Group of kids smiling at a YCA franchise cooking class

Meet The Young Chefs Academy Team

Corporate team made up of industry professionals who are longtime collaborators

Young Chefs Academy franchise owners love the family aspect of the business. They get that from the corporate team, a group of experts with more than 130 years of combined experience in franchising whose driving passion every day is to help each franchise owner succeed. Ready to meet them?

Julie Fabing Burleson

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Julie owned and operated two culinary businesses before launching the Young Chefs Academy model and setting out to build a franchise network dedicated to teaching children the joy and value of cooking.  Julie is the recipient of a Best Feasibility Plan award from Baylor University’s John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and is a member of the International Franchise Association.

Roger Schmidt

President

Roger brings a wealth of experience to Young Chefs Academy, including 40 years as a practicing attorney with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in franchising, including a stint as a franchise owner for a major, multi-brand food franchisor. His experience also includes 12 years as a law professor teaching Franchise Law at Baylor University Law School. He holds the International Franchise Association’s Certified Franchise Executive credential.

Kevin Ayers

Vice President and General Counsel

Kevin has 20 years of experience practicing U.S. and international franchising law, including 15 years of in-house work establishing systems and handling legal issues for a major franchise company and three years working with franchise systems for franchise companies in the U.S. and abroad.

Shelly Young

Director of Marketing

Shelly has more than 20 years’ experience in a variety of franchise industry roles, with an emphasis on integrated marketing solutions, national marketing initiatives, graphic development and design.

Jamie Skinner

Director of Franchise Operations

Jamie brings two decades of experience as she works hand-in-hand with franchise owners, supporting them in the successful implementation of operational policies and procedures so they can achieve maximum profitability.

Rachel Solano

Curriculum Coordinator

Rachel began her professional career as a lead supervisor and corporate trainer. Over the past 10 years, Rachel has combined a passion for cooking with her background as chef instructor and manager. Her love for cooking began at an early age as she learned how to make healthy homemade recipes with her mom. Rachel understands the value in knowing how to cook and believes that it is vital for kids to have opportunities to gain culinary skills in a happy and supportive environment.

Charles Burleson

Vice President – Business Systems & Technology

Charles has worked in corporate IT management for more than 20 years. He has led technology-integration projects in a wide range of areas, including corporate networks, midrange-desktop applications and web-based business systems. His certifications include  CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+.

Diane Wright

Franchise Development Specialist

In her more than 25 years in the franchising industry, Diane has been a unit franchise owner and master licensee and has held various executive management positions with national and international franchisors, including President of Innovative Franchise Services, a franchise consulting and development firm in Tucson, Arizona. She is a past president of the International Franchisee Advisory Council for Decorating Den Systems Inc., and past president of the Arizona Licensor/Franchisor Association.

Julie Andrews

Curriculum Writer
Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD, is a food and nutrition consultant, registered dietitian nutritionist, published author, chef and culinary media expert. Her passion and experience lie in business development, recipe and cooking class curriculum development, food styling, food photography and food writing. Julie’s greatest joy is inspiring others to cook for themselves, as she truly believes it’s the ticket to better health and a more enjoyable life.

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