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Level 1 Culinary Academy Ages 11-16

In this 5-day Culinary Academy, students will be introduced, hands-on, to all the aspects of the kitchen. They'll learn about kitchen equipment, safety, knife skills, and hygiene. Then the real fun begins as each camper will make their own foods like pizza, tacos, and French toast. We'll have a day of flavor dynamics where we focus on tasting and understanding the foundations of flavor. Students will do everything from start to finish. Our classes are made to be very hands-on, without group cooking, except on the final day when students team up for battle in the cooking competition!

  • Classes are five consecutive days (Mon-Fri). Each class is two hours.
  • Classes are limited to 12 students
  • Each student cooks individually at their own cooktop/prep station. No group cooking here. 
  • Every student will learn every aspect, not just bits and pieces. Hands-on learning.
  • Every day, campers will cook a full meal, and usually have leftovers to take home! 

Monday - Knife Skills 101
Look sharp and be safe! Campers will learn how to safely use a knife to chop, dice, and julienne. Today's menu features tacos with all the fixin's. Students will use their knife skills to prep all the ingredients themselves. Chef will talk about the many herbs and spices used in Latin cooking. Then it’s time to put together the tacos and top with the self-made salsa. Campers will cut up mangoes for a sweet treat.

Tuesday - Kitchen Skills 101
Students begin the day learning about kitchen equipment, kitchen safety, hygiene, and culinary terminology. Chef will lead campers through making pizza dough. Then, each student will make their own pan-grilled pizzas, one savory and one sweet. As a bonus, students will learn different ways to tie dough so they can make pizza knots at home!

Wednesday - Fabulous French Toast
During this delicious class, you'll create three amped up versions of French Toast, giving you three new taste sensations. Cooking at your own cooktop you'll create French Toast with Salted Caramel Bananas, a Stuffed French Toast with Apples and Cinnamon Cream Cheese, and then a Croissant French Toast with Brandy Pecan Maple Syrup and Pears. 

Thursday - Flavor Dynamics
Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Sour, and Umami. We all know what they taste like, but do we know how to balance and combine them into amazing dishes every time? Probably not. That's what this class is about. Students will train their palates to taste each of these individually, and how they interact when used with each other and on meats and vegetables. We'll also cover how to use different sources of salt, acids, fats, herbs, and spices that come from many cultures around the world.  The canvas will be noodles, and we're going to paint them with flavor!

Friday - Secret Ingredient Competition

The whole week leads up to this.  Working in teams of two, students will take everything they’ve learned throughout the week and put it on display.  It’s a fun and friendly competition, and everyone at The Learning Kitchen is a winner, but our judges will have the tough task of choosing the young chefs who scores the highest based on taste, technique, creativity and presentation!  

The highest scoring chefs will be awarded a prize!

Skills Learned:

  •   Kitchen safety
  •   Kitchen equipment
  •   Knife skills/safety
  •   Stove/Oven use
  •   Nutrition
  •   Flavor Dynamics
  •   Mise en Place
  •   Temp. Control
  •   Recipe reading
  •   Measuring
  •  Mixing/whisking
  •  Herb & Spice identification
  •  Time Management
  •  Creativity
  •  Pan-frying/Sauté
  •  Searing
  •  Sauce making
  •  Emulsifying
  •  Vinaigrettes

Chef Instructor: Ramon Montes

Ramon was born and raised in San Diego, California. While going to college for his dance degree, he was also working at local restaurants where his passion for food really kicked in. Ramon decided to retire from the stage and go back to school for his Culinary Arts degree. He’s always been interested in not only how to cook, but also what happens to the food when we cook it. From the shared cultural experience to the science of cooking, Ramon loves every aspect of food but also loves teaching others about the art. Growing up in a traditional Mexican household, food was always a major part of his life, and now he is glad to share his knowledge and culture with others. He hopes you leave his classes not only learning about food, but with more passion for cooking.

Our recipes use common ingredients that may or may not be specified in the menu, including various fruits and vegetables, nuts, meats, spices, wheat flours, etc. If you have a food allergy or dietary restriction we should be aware of, please call or email before attending the class. We may or may not be able to accommodate.

A minimum 14-day notice via phone or in-person is required for class cancellations. If you are unable to attend a class, you are encouraged to send someone in your place. We cannot make exceptions.

Got questions? Call, email, or check our FAQ page.

Classes are two hours, but duration is approximate and may vary by 10-15 minutes, it is best to plan accordingly.

Ages 11-16. Price is per student.


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Included Materials



This class cannot be purchased online. Please contact the store for more information.