The pandemic has forced the owner of Kids Cooking School to get even more creative.
Kids Cooking School, located at 307 Village Parkway in Circle Pines, has rebranded as “Kids Creative School.” This summer, in addition to cooking classes, the business will also offer art and crafts classes.
Lino Lakes resident Tiffany Cavegn opened the business in Lino Lakes in February 2017. Cavegn, a chef and health coach, is the founder of a nonprofit organization, Healthy Strong Kids of Minnesota, whose mission is to provide food assistance to families in need while teaching young people how to cook healthy recipes. After she taught community education classes, she realized there was a need for a local children’s cooking school.
The business had to close its doors in September 2018. The Kids Cooking School found a temporary home at Oak Hill Montessori School in Shoreview in 2019. Two weeks before the March 2020 shutdown, Cavegn signed a lease for the school’s new (and current location) in Circle Pines.
“Like everyone, it's been challenging for us. We got just enough federal funding last year to make it through the summer,” Cavegn explained. “Due to the nature of classes, when we had to reduce capacity by 50%, it reduced our revenue but did not reduce our expenses. We are currently running at 50% revenue and 110% expenses when you take on the extra sanitizing required and because students can't share anything, so we have to order more individual ingredients.”
Every year, Cavegn starts planning summer camps in the fall. At that time, it was unclear whether the same COVID-10 restrictions and protocols would be in place. She began brainstorming ways to increase revenue to avoid closing the business for a second time.
“The stars aligned,” and Kids Creative School received a grant from Anoka County to help launch Cavegn’s latest ideas, an art studio and outdoor classroom. “I have been wanting to expand our classes to include unusual arts and crafts, the kind you see on Pinterest but not in your typical art classrooms,” she explained.
One of the tenants down the hall from Kids Creative School closed its doors, so the landlord offered Cavegn the space on a month-to-month basis. That new space will allow the business to increase its space. However, Cavegn doesn’t have the capacity to add more cooking stations.
Even if the 50% capacity restriction is loosened this summer, Cavegn said there will likely still be capacity limits to make sure social distancing can be maintained. Students likely won’t be able to share ingredients or cook stations.
Summer camps include: Food Around the World, Breakfast Buffet, Camping Cuisine, Mad About Macarons, Crazy about Cupcakes, Italian Favorites and more. Art camps, many of which will incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts, will include: Sparkling Mosaic Art, Acrylic & Resin Pours, 3D Printing, Hogwarts Paper Models and Craft My Crazy.
The school attracts students from various school districts, including Centennial, White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi, Forest Lake, Mounds View, Spring Lake Park, Roseville, Maplewood/North Saint Paul/Oakdale and St. Paul.
Hugo resident Michelle Allshouse’s son Dylan, a fifth grader, has attended classes at the school for a few years. “He has always liked helping me in the kitchen. He is more of a creative person and isn’t into sports as much,” Allshouse explained. “I asked him if he would be interested in trying a class. He really liked it, so he just kept doing it.”
Even though Dylan is a regular student at the cooking school, he is still able to find new classes that interest him. “He loves Chef Tiffany, and it’s not the same thing over and over again,” she said. “He loves going and meeting new friends. It keeps him busy.”
Dylan recently took a cupcakes and hot cocoa bomb class and soon plans to take another class on macarons. This summer, he is also signed up for the Italian Favorites camp. Allshouse said she hasn’t yet asked Dylan whether he wants to try out some of the arts and crafts type of classes, but she guesses he will.
Kids Creative School plans to host an open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 11, so families can visit the cooking and art studio space, meet staff and try out some of the projects. To sign up for a time slot, or to learn more about the business, visit kidscreativeschool.org.
Lead Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.