Oakville’s Little Kitchen Academy

Is your child a budding chef, the next Bob Blumer, Lynn Crawford or Alvin Leung? Does your child demonstrate an interest in the art of cooking? Little Kitchen Academy offers a unique culinary experience for children ages 3-18, and Oakville has the only available location in Ontario.

This Canadian franchise provides children with exposure and an introduction to useful kitchen skills, potentially igniting future epicurean pursuits. For these young people, cooking at the academy isn’t just fun and games. “What the children learn in the kitchen are transferable life skills,” remarks Owner-Operator and Oakville resident Felicia Sia.

When Felicia attempted to locate a local culinary school for her young son, she was surprised not to find one. An online search lead her to discover a Montessori-styled culinary academy franchise for children in British Columbia. Following extensive research and  being  impressed with the structure and philosophy of the academy, Felicia invested in a franchise herself, bringing its first location to Ontario this past July.

Felicia’s experience and expertise was gained from her previous role as a director in food science research with ROHA, a leader in food colour and ingredient production. Her vision is to change lives from the early years, empowering the students with choices and a fundamental understanding of how flavour choices affect foods and how to prepare them.

Parents are not present while class is in session at this academy. Each student dons a chef uniform and listens to safety instructions before commencing.

Students have the opportunity to select ingredients within a prepared recipe. Herbs are grown on a living wall for the kids to harvest. They’re encouraged to try new foods and spices in various preparations, learning the science behind cooked versus raw. Lessons include education in the use of knife skills, clean-up, kitchen discipline, table-setting, and eating etiquette.

At the end of each session, students demonstrate what they’ve learned by presenting a meal for their parents to enjoy.

Q: Because the academy opened during the pandemic, what effect did these limitations pose on class size?

“We provided the appropriate spacing at stations during restrictions. The class sizes didn’t change. We weren’t affected in that way. Fortunately, registration remained healthy. Parents felt comfortable with how we handled the Health & Safety Guidelines. The only change made was that the students remained at their stations while presenting food, instead of using the community table.”

The classroom population at Little Kitchen Academy does not exceed ten students, with a 1:3 instructor ratio. While programs cater to kids 3-18, classes are grouped by age. The instructors have a culinary education and Montessori background. Felicia herself also instructs.

Q: Now open for just over nine months, what kind of feedback do you have from the parents about the program?

“Both the parents and kids have given us a positive response. We don’t have a lot of online reviews as of yet, but we do have many return students. This, for me, is undeniable feedback that we are doing something right.

There are children with special needs who have also enjoyed the program. Because of the low ratio of kids to instructors, all children can attend our program with sufficient 1-on-1 attention.”

The success and demand have been so great, with student applications also originating from Mississauga, Milton, Burlington, Thornhill, and Richmond Hill, that Felicia is looking for a second suitable location in Mississauga, with an opening date scheduled for late 2022.

Registration for spring classes and summer camp are now open!

Sia adds, “I have been and continue to be very grateful to the Oakville community for all their support.”

Little Kitchen Academy franchise has additional academy openings available for later this year in various GTA locations.

Visit the Little Kitchen Academy Oakville website for more information: littlekitchenacademy.com/locations/oakville

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