Group of kids smiling at a YCA franchise cooking class

The Young Chefs Academy Story

Learn the history behind this exciting and dynamic business

What better place for a kids’ cooking school to start than in a kitchen? That’s where founder and CEO Julie Burleson came up with the idea behind Young Chefs Academy, she says.


“I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so the wheels are always spinning,” she explains. “I was doing some catering from home, and my young son kept asking to help. I wanted to be involved with him, of course, but I was also trying to get a job done. Many parents struggle with that work-life balance, and it’s an even bigger struggle when you’re running your own business. So, I started thinking about a business that would involve kids, one that would make a difference in their lives — as well as that of their parents. And the more I thought about what would become Young Chefs Academy, I got excited about the positive impact it could have.”

Young Chefs Academy brand mission statement

Teaching children the joy and value of cooking ~ in a lively and welcoming environment designed specifically for young minds that encourages creativity and discovery.

Soon she had opened the first location, and the idea of a kid-friendly program that taught meaningful skills in a fun, colorful environment took off. She’d always had a franchise business model in mind, she says, because she knew there were other entrepreneurs out there who felt as she did about kids and learning. She was right.

“We have a network of amazing people with a shared passion for the service we are providing for children and families,” Burleson says. “They understand the responsibility of owning their own business, they are problem solvers and they come to work every day loving what they do. We build a strong relationship with them, and they build strong bonds with their communities.”

Programs and services always evolving and expanding

That has led to a collaborative brand that never stands still. Young Chefs Academy continues to find new audiences and new ways to engage the community. That means franchise owners have multiple ways to build revenue streams.

“We have our membership program, which enrolls kids who are serious about broadening their culinary skills,” Burleson says. “We also have birthday parties, summer camps and seasonal activities around Christmas, Valentine’s Day and other holidays, not to mention birthday parties for kids and, increasingly, adults. Young Chefs Academy is continually finding ways to develop new lines of business that are fun for the participants and profitable for the franchise owner.”

How the Young Chefs Academy environment helps build confident kids

  • Welcoming: Children have the opportunity for positive growth and development.
  • Creative: Children are always respected, listened to and involved in the learning process.
  • Connected: Each child will feel fully integrated into the cooking experience.
  • Positive: Every child will find a place of positive growth and development.

Ready to learn more? Then please click here and we’ll send along some detailed information about Young Chefs Academy and arrange a call so we can answer any questions you have.

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