In February of 2010 I applied for a Fictitious Business Name as “Cooking Italiano for Kids.”
Previously I had worked for two years in the after-school / summer camp industry and became known for teaching Lego Robotics. Cooking was a passion of mine from living in Italy for a year, and I had experimented with mini-cooking classes with kids that became popular.
With my own company, I began to teach cooking classes 4 days a week, with 1 day teaching Lego Robotics.
Year after year, I began to expand by hiring and training Chef and Lego Robotics Teachers. I made the hiring process FUN for me by having the chef candidates bring me food they made.
Some of it was delicious like Homemade Ravioli with Chicken Sausage while other dishes were DISGUSTING such as a Vegan Lasagna…where the “cheese” was not real and melted in a weird way that tasted like rubber.
Then in 2014 I rebranded as LIFT Enrichment (Learning Is Fun Time) to house both programs.
Now we teach 40 classes a week with hundreds of students enrolled!
My teachers are a fun group, and since I don’t see them regularly because they’re teaching classes all over Los Angeles, I decided to throw a potluck and game night last Saturday night in honor of our 5 year anniversary.
My contribution was a big Lasagna Bolognese with a homemade Meat and Besciamella sauces, paired with a Caesar Salad with my signature Lemon-Parmesan dressing.
Teachers brought some delicious foods including: Tortilla Chips with a Buffalo Chicken Dip (all the goodness of buffalo wings and chicken in dip form!), Chicken Taquitos, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Cookies, Sangria and more!
(Two days later, I’m still eating tasty leftovers.)
About a dozen of us gathered and swapped stories over dinner of the often ridiculous things kids say and do.
Around 9pm as cake and cookies was passed around for dessert, the FUN part of the night began: GAME TIME.
You can imagine how a group of teachers (most of which have an acting background) would get very into playing Pictionary and Charades, especially when prizes included treats, gift cards and free movie tickets.
Dividing the group in half, we started with Pictionary. Pictionary highlights including some really hard words that some people were able to guess correctly including “fireside,” “spare” and a particularly impressive moment where Nathaniel (aka Commander “N” of Chandler Learning Academy, St Monica and Valley Schools) was able to draw and convey “neighborhood.”
Next up was Charades, which was a blast because instead of drawing, people had to act out the word they chose randomly from a bowl. After one round, the group decided on a “bonus round” in which each group of 6 players would write down 6 movies. Then one person on the opposite team would randomly choose a movie and have one minute to have their team guess the film.
The movies were pretty hard to act out, but resulted in hilarious moments. My movie was “Clueless” and involved me prancing around like a ditsy, but smart, blonde in high school. One person was able to convey the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace”…whose title is NOT easy to share without talking. One epic moment was Allen (aka Commander “A” of Valor, Visitation, Seven Arrows and First Lutheran) who correctly guessed the FULL TITLE of: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Turtles in Time.”
Later in the night, movie tickets were won by Allen and Chef Brooke!
The potluck and game night were a definite hit and fun to plan. I look forward to more company parties in the future!
Read More: Behind The Scenes: Chef Training 2015