Creative Kids Kitchen Offers Cooking Classes for Children

Necessity is the mother of invention. Just ask Andie Nelson, who launched Creative Kids Kitchen three years ago while she was at home full time with her two young kids. “I started brainstorming how I could sign up people to come over to our house to do something fun and interesting,” says the Arlington mom, now 36.

She decided to host a cooking playgroup for toddlers and their parents, inviting kids to get their hands dirty by mixing up batches of cupcakes and pizza bites. After three months of informal gatherings, Nelson felt she had enough interest to turn her hobby into a business. Creative Kids Kitchen now offers year-round classes for kids ages 18 months to 14.

“My daughter Gabrielle is a picky eater,” says Rachel Fried, 39, who discovered the classes through the Mothers of North Arlington (www.monamoms.org) listserv. “I thought it would be a fun way to give her some ownership of her food choices. If she made it, maybe she would like it.”

It worked. Through the classes, Fried and Gabrielle (now 5) have made a variety of meals together, including eggplant balls and pizza. “When I grow up, I’m going to be famous for my cupcakes,” the pint-size chef boasts.

Sue King’s daughters, Hayley, 11, and Katie, 8, were inspired by summer classes in which they cooked up dishes from Thailand, Mexico and Lebanon. “Usually when I go to camp, adults are doing all the complicated stuff and we’re standing on the side watching,” says Hayley. “There, we got to do a lot of the work. It was nice to be treated like a grown-up.”

Creative Kids Kitchen, 703-664-0922, www.creativekidskitchen.com