With fun graphic design and a family-focused business model, Little Sous Kitchen Academy is a monthly subscription box—launching through Kickstarter—dedicated to educating the next generation of cooks by encouraging children to have a little fun with their food. Each month, kids and their families (let’s face it, cooking time like this is as much for the parents) receive a box of recipes, activities and appropriate tools that, for the first time, are actually size-specific and safety-appropriate for young budding chefs.
Instead of sending our perfectly-portioned ingredients, Little Sous Kitchen Academy (from the company behind the namesake kids media site, Little Sous) focuses on education and the joy of cooking. Targeting kids aged 6-12, Little Sous Kitchen Academy teaches new techniques, recipes, and cultural context for meals, that help kids be involved in the process of eating while maximizing family mealtime. Furthermore, Little Sous Kitchen Academy wants to empower young people and give them content that’s not pandering to their age.
In the inaugural box aptly called, “Cheese: The Grate Adventure,” Little Sous subscribers receive a packet of cards filled with fun facts and activities to start their adventure. Did you know that the average American eats 23 pounds of cheese a year? and that most cheese rinds are edible (some cheese lovers call them the best part). A fold out card teaches Little Sous’ a lesson in food chemistry with directions on how adding vinegar to milk separates the curds and whey and then a pack of four recipes teaches what to do with that fresh made ricotta plus extra chees-y ideas (everything bagel-inspired cheese balls, anyone?) for intrepid young chefs. Our favorite part of the Cheese box is the activity cards for assembling a killer cheese board with a cheese tasting card and guide for how to cut the cheese with the included OXO wire cheese slicer. The ready-to-color poster includes interactive games, puzzles and activities to teach kids more about food cultures around the world.
Little Sous Kitchen Academy comes at an interesting time in subscription-boxes. In a recent Grubstreet article, “Can Meal Kits Ever Catch On?” writer Hugh Merwin notes that Blue Apron, “recently shed a quarter million users and faced lawsuits from disgruntled investors.” In the article, Merwin also admonishes companies for adding to greater waste in the food industry: “Even recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable materials—which most meal-kit services have shifted toward or adopted—represent an additional manufacturing burden, environmental footprint, and ultimately, more trash to take out. It’s the last thing anyone wants to think about when all they want is dinner.”
The invaluable skill of encouraging children to be more curious and engaged with what they are putting in their bodies, not only has to potential to inspire a new generation of chefs, but also involves young people in our food system’s political future. Here’s to raising involved kids and parents who don’t mind playing with their food. Little Sous Kitchen Academy is taking pre-orders through their Kickstarter campaign now through July 7.