Cooking School - New Business Idea

Joined Dec 24, 2002
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this board and would appreciate any help. I want to open a cooking school in my area for people to take recreational classes to explore the joy of cooking at home. This will start as a part-time venture for me, until I can see enough profit to quit my job to run the school full time. I'm considering several options such as:

1. Teaching classes in my home. I can only seat 4 comfortably in my kitchen. Some classes would be taught by me, others taught by a guest chef.
2. Renting a facility. Some classes taught by me, other classes by a guest chef.
3. Networking with restaurants, to have their chefs teach a class in their restaurant. I found a company that does this, their website is Pretty interesting.

To give you some background, I love to cook, I love watching FoodTV. I do not have a culinary degree or paid experience for my cooking. I will be volunteering at a cooking school (school is geared toward professional programs, not recreation) in my area to get some experience.

If anyone has any ideas or opinions about the 3 options I listed above, please let me know. Any help is appreciated.

Joined Aug 11, 2000
I've taught at cooking schools, private one on one, in can be lucrative or it can be a more effort than the return.
Cooking schools....I teach 2.5 hours and they eat the last 1/2 hour. I make $150 for my time and the school needs 7 to make it run.....So, I have to come up with recipes/ a class, figure out the supply list, sometimes I shop and sometimes I let them....then you either do your mise en place or trust someone else to....I have 1 asst. to help during class and to clean up. So that 3 hour class can become a day or more if I'd not done that specific class before. fav is to walk in or shop with the student and cook what they have/wanna learn to make. anywhere from $150+ food....usually 4-5 hours. Recipes written during cooking. So essentially no prior prep!!!!
I've been asked to travel to Indiana on a regular basis to teach a group of friends...usually ends up being $600-800....does not include my travel nor food and I always bring recipes. They get enough for a meal and each pay $ is 4 hours each way and I spend the night with one of them.
I've done lunch classes for 40...again this is very lucrative.

I love teaching! It is usually something I look forward to...I have an aphrodisac class Feb the is just talking and making dinner at a school. But in March I'm teaching risotto and aricini, that is exciting....the students will walk out knowing how to make both and after I'm done with the hands on/brain storming they will create fun things with arborio on their own.
This past year my greatest accomplishment was having 14, 9-11 year olds cook, peel and eat chioggia beets with chevre and basalmic dressing! They loved it. Turning kids on to food is sooo cool. Remind me next August as I teach summer intensive cooking camp to teenagers.
So package your classes so they are replicable, "in the can", it'll make life soooo much easier.

Oh I almost forgot, I work with chefs on a regular basis, some are great....they come prepared, they are enjoyable to watch, they don't need to be babysat....and then there are the no shows, the ones that don't have recipes, the ones that want you to do the mis without much notice or directions, the ones that miss the concept of whatever the theme is....knowing who to ask is REALLY important.
Good luck.
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