From making the decision to never want a business, to feeling like she has won the business lottery – Jess James, from CooknCreate – Mobile Cooking School, shares with us her business journey!
A quick intro…
Hi there! My name is Jess and as requested I am here to showcase my Zone of genius (I so love that!!) which is all the AMAZING things that happen when we cook with kiddies!
If you have met me you will know I LOOOVE to chat but I will keep this brief..(ish!). Before we dive in fully, it’s really important to go back in time with me to Wales, UK where I grew up to see how I arrived where I am today and how relevant it all is!
So, I grew up on a Chocolate farm. Yep! And no, that isn’t just a Welsh thing! My dad was a high flying journalist and TV director and my mum was a set designer in the theatre in London and an events coordinator for a TV company. (Yes, I agree the ending to this one is NOT an obvious one!!)
My dad was an entrepreneur through and through, as in.. a little bit eccentric and had visions beyond what most of us would consider the norm! So, one day they decided to uproot, leave their careers and start a whole new and exciting venture (yes, I see history repeating itself too!).
My dad was the genius and mastermind and my mum trained to be an amazing chocolatier in Belgium and the business took off!
And I mean, it was a real Willy Wonka dream!
The business was a tourism venture so HUNDREDS of people would come for demonstrations, and to have a day of chocolate filled fun! As a family we did TV shows, trade shows and we were a huge part of the Foodie scene in Wales. I have always been submerged in this world and I LOVE IT!!!
Food Technology was always my favourite subject (by far!!) in school and so I chose to persue this at university and gained a First Class honours degree in ‘Food, Nutrition and Consumer sciences’. I have worked with celebrity chefs, won many accolades of my own for product development and I have also completed many years of Chocolatier training working with some AMAZING experts and Food scientists along the way. Oh, and I then trained to be a high school teacher and taught for many years. Honestly, that is a summary too!
I guess it’s important for people to know what they get when they come to a Cook n Create session, it really is more than just a random lady making cookies with your kids!
But, I never wanted a business.
Throughout my ENTIRE life I have vowed I will NEVER EVER own my own business..ever, ever, EVER!
I wanted the job with set hours, set wage, a pension and the stability that comes with it.
I LOVED being a Food Tech teacher. I didn’t want a business anywhere near my life or my family… but HI … here I am.. with my very own Cooking School for kids and oh my goodness me… the joy and satisfaction it brings me and my clients is unreal!
Cooking with kids is WAY more than cooking.
Cooking with kids is about confidence, independence, skill building, friendship building. It’s about nurturing, empowering and fostering creativity.
This mixing pot of awesomeness is the fuel behind Cook n Create – where we embrace the mess, the freedom and the excitement behind creating amazing things.
We learn through fun. I say WE because these amazing kiddos teach me new things every day.. .and not just how to floss or create unicorn hair!
Cooking sets children up with the life skills to be resilient and competent adults
As I mentioned, at Cook n Create the fun is always the CORE of the learning.
By making positive connections with every part of the experience from mixing, beating, cracking, rolling, to munching – these kids are laying down foundations that will last them a lifetime – that’s just so extraordinary to be a part of.
Not only are you feeding their tummies – you are feeding their minds. They are learning, experimenting, building confidence and learning to make decisions and to trust themselves.
They are empowered!
Giving a child confidence and watching them thrive is just magical. The satisfaction and pride they feel every single session supports their self esteem and self belief.
Cooking also helps at home & school!
Children who cook also show a huge preference to healthier food.
Only 1% if children in Australia meet the daily recommended intake for veggies. Just by getting them involved in peeling and chopping and nibbling along the way – you are changing their entire life!
Learning to cook can help children develop a passion for food and a willingness to try and explore new foods!
Cooking is also FULL of amazing learning opportunities that link to school learning!
We always tie in science, maths, oracy, literacy – changing the context and applying it in a practical situation increases focus and attention and therefore understanding and learning!
Cooking can be an adventure!
During a mentoring meeting with the awesome Carly I couldn’t connect with how I had been describing my sessions.
Workshops. Lessons. Those terms were too rigid. Too boxed.
As awesome as they are – they didn’t capture the fun, the excitement the exhilaration that we experience.
We stumbled upon ‘Cooking adventures for kids’ and – that was it!
Ever the teacher though – of course every single session has structure that I disguise within the fun! Lesson plans, learning outcomes, progression are all there, but I take the pressure off the kiddies shoulders. By approaching the learning from a side angle – their progress, development and learning knocks me off my feet daily!
During my time as a classroom teacher I worked with many special needs classes and guaranteed that all individuals who may have struggled with mainstream lessons were happy and thriving in my classroom.
These kiddies taught me a LOT about the type of teacher I wanted to be and how I wanted to support learning journeys and create adventures and let kids be kids and learn THEIR way! I have created my own classroom environment, but cherry picked all the BEST parts of the job I had – I feel like I’ve won the lottery!
If you ever need a good read about how to help fussy eaters, want to get some amazing recipes, feel inspired, or you just want to have some fun – you know where to find me – come on an adventure!
Thanks SO much for reading! Stay safe out there!
Jess James, Cookncreate
So, hi my name is Jessica (but I’m more of a Jess!). I am a qualified and vastly experienced Food and Nutrition/Home Economics teacher. I have a first class Honors Degree (Bachelor of Science) in ‘Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences’. I also have a Post Grad Certificate of Education. I am from Wales, U.K and ADORE Adelaide, which is now home for me and my young family!
My kiddies are 4 and 5 (Yes I know… also insane..I’m tired!!) and it’s important for me to be really honest when I create my posts, suggest recipes etc – parent life is full on enough without having to live up to fake realities!! I am a mum, I am soooo in the thick of it, I am exhausted and I am doing my best to start a business – I get it!!
P.S Just so we are all on the same page.. I know my hair is insane in this picture! >> (pic of me provided)
I quote my husband “You sure that’s the photo you want to use?” YES. Because when you meet me.. my hair will probably be more insane so I am easing you in!!!