The pandemic has forced the Kids Cooking School owner to get even more creative.
The Kids Cooking School at 307 Village Parkway in Circle Pines has been renamed the Kids Creative School. This summer, the company is offering arts and crafts classes in addition to cooking classes.
Lino Lakes resident Tiffany Cavegn opened the Lino Lakes store 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 youth how to cook healthy recipes. After teaching community education classes, she realized there was a need for a local children’s culinary school.
The store had to close in September 2018. Kids Cooking School found a temporary home at Oak Hill Montessori School in Shoreview in 2019. Two weeks before the March 2020 closure, Cavegn signed a lease on the school’s new (and current) location. in Circle Pines.
“As for everyone, it was a challenge for us. We got just enough federal funding last year to get us through the summer,” Cavegn said. “When we had to reduce capacity by 50%, due to the nature of the class, it reduced our revenue but not our expenses. We’re currently running at 50% revenue and 110% expense if you handle the extra sanitization required, and because the students can’t share anything we have to order more individual ingredients.”
Cavegn begins planning summer camps each fall. At the time, it was unclear if the same COVID-10 restrictions and protocols would apply. She began brainstorming ideas to increase sales to avoid closing the business a second time.
“The stars align,” and Kids Creative School received a grant from Anoka County to launch Cavegn’s latest ideas, an art studio and outdoor classroom. “I wanted to add unusual crafts to our classes like you see on Pinterest but not in your typical art classrooms,” she explained.
One of the tenants from the Kids Creative School down the hall was closing its doors, so the landlord offered Cavegn the space on a monthly basis. This new space will allow the company to increase its area. However, Cavegn doesn’t have the capacity to add more cooking stations.
Even if the 50% capacity restriction is eased this summer, there will likely still be capacity restrictions to ensure social distancing can be maintained, Cavegn said. Students probably won’t be able to share ingredients or cooking stations.
Summer camps include: Food Around the World, Breakfast Buffet, Camp Kitchen, Mad About Macarons, Mad About Cupcakes, Italian Specialties and more. Art camps, many of which incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts, include: Sparkly Mosaic Art, Acrylic and Resin Casting, 3D Printing, Hogwarts Paper Craft and Craft My Crazy.
The school attracts students from a variety of 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’s son, Michelle Allshouse, Dylan, a fifth grader, has been attending classes at the school for a number of years. “He always liked to help me in the kitchen. He’s more of a creative person and less athletic,” Allshouse explained. “I asked him if he would be interested in trying a course. He really liked it, so he just kept going.”
Although Dylan is a regular student at the culinary school, he still finds new classes to interest him. “He loves Chef Tiffany, and it’s not always the same,” she said. “He loves going there and meeting new friends. That keeps him on his toes.”
Dylan recently took a class on cupcakes and hot cocoa bombs and plans to take another class on macaroons soon. This summer he is also registered for the camp of the Italian favorites. Allshouse said she hasn’t asked Dylan if he’d like to try some of the arts and crafts classes, but suspects he will.
The Kids Creative School plans to hold an open house on Sunday April 11 from 1pm to 5pm so families can visit the cooking and art studio, meet staff and try out some of the projects. To sign up for a time slot or learn more about the business, visit kidscreativeschool.org.