Interview with Nicole Freeman – Founder of The Kids’ Kitchen
Nicole Freeman is a multi-award-winning cooking teacher who always had a love of food and cooking. It was her own fussy eater that prompted her to set up her kids’ cooking school, The Kids’ Kitchen, where she has taught hundreds of kids (and their parents) to cook and to expand the variety of foods they eat and be receptive to new foods. Her tips, techniques and recipes are tried and tested and have become life-savers to her customers!
Describe your business – what do you do?
I run an award-winning kids’ cooking school in London, The Kids’ Kitchen.
What gave you the idea to start up your business?
I’ve always loved cooking and after having children, became more aware of how many kids were becoming fussy eaters, eating a lot of pre-prepared “fast” food and couldn’t recognise everyday ingredients. My son was a very fussy eater when he was little, and I found that cooking with him and playing “games” with his food was a great way of encouraging him to try more things. My aim is for the kids to have fun in the classes: I believe that enjoying their time in the kitchen lays the foundation for a love of cooking and a curiosity about food and where it comes from. And this is of great benefit for them as individuals as well as for the wider family. When my son started school I thought it was finally time to put into practice some of the ideas I’d had about cooking classes and see what the reaction was from parents and their children. And that’s where it all started!
Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?
Getting customers was the first and most important thing and I asked friends if they would send their kids as guinea pigs and then recommend me – and it grew from there. I’ve never spent any money on advertising and pretty much all my business is word of mouth, which is the best testimonial.
What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
Having the flexibility to work around my family is great. But more than that, the business was born from a passion to help others improve their family’s relationship with food and help people move towards happier, healthier mealtimes. So, seeing the kids satisfaction as they take home what they’ve made for their family to try, or hearing that the classes are the highlight of their week and that they tell everyone they meet what they’ve been making in class is a fantastic buzz. But above all, it’s an amazing feeling to see kids try an ingredient that they didn’t think they’d like or that mum says they never eat at home! And of course, receiving awards voted for by the parents is enormously rewarding – you know you’re doing something right!
What has been the biggest challenge?
Juggling it all and switching off, which is hard when it’s your own business and you are trying to do everything yourself!
If you could go back and give yourself some advice what would it be?
Ask for advice earlier on and get support – you don’t have to do everything yourself. I wish I’d invested in coaching or training earlier on to scale the business.
What are your plans for the future?
To move online. I’m in the process of launching an online course – Family Foodies SOS – for those that are frustrated by family mealtimes and want to create a better relationship with food. And I have plans for an online monthly membership too. That way I can spread the passion and learning more widely. There’s such stress and lack of confidence around home cooking and family mealtimes and I’d love to be the go-to person to provide support and advice. We need to teach kids (and parents!) about healthy eating and help them broaden their palate before they become fussy eaters. In an age of rising obesity and all kinds of other health issues plus the “distractions” of social media, getting families around the table for home-cooked meals would be so beneficial.
You can find out more about Nicole here…
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KidsKitchen_UK