It’s never too early to get your little ones making their own meals or setting the table for dinner. Classes throughout North Texas teach the basics of cooking, baking and table etiquette all while building kids’ self-esteem and equipping them to fend for themselves in the kitchen (wouldn’t that be nice?) or in a four-star restaurant. Besides, getting dressed up for a dinner party or getting messy in the kitchen is just plain fun—and who doesn’t love tasting food before it makes it to the plate? So grab your apron and start with these local classes.
Mini Cooks in the Kitchen
Instead of grabbing dinner to go from Central Market, stay and make it yourself. The store offers classes for kids age 7 and up and adults to cook together—and of course you get to sample the food afterward. Register early—with tempting menu items like blueberry pancakes, cheddar biscuits and beef sliders, classes fill up in advance. Prices for parent-child classes start at $70 per pair depending on location; register online. Most classes last two and a half hours.
1425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817/310-5665
4651 W. Freeway, Suite 100, Fort Worth, 817/377-9005
5750 E. Lovers Lane, Dallas, 214/361-5754
320 Coit Road, Plano, 469/241-8389
Sur La Table
Dig in to the many culinary classes at Sur La Table—with a different schedule every week, there’s always something new on the menu. Kids 8 and up can join Mom and Dad at Family Fun classes to make a dish or two; upcoming themes include Easter cupakes. Kids 8–12 can sharpen their knife skills in a two-hour class offered on select days, or join a three-day or five-day series during the summer, where chefs-in-training work together to learn (and taste!) popular recipes from Sur La Table’s professional chef instructors—everything from roasted tomato soup to shredded chicken tacos. Class calendars are available months in advance—good thing, as seats fill up quickly. $59 per person for two-hour classes; $150 for three-day series; $249 for five-day series. Register online.
3400 Bryant Irvin Road, Suite 120, Fort Worth, 817/377-0683
1151 E. Southlake Blvd., Suite 340, Southlake, 817/416-6257
4525 Cole Ave., Suite 190, Dallas, 214/219-4404
6025 Royal Lane, Suite 150, Dallas, 469/232-9409
Taste Buds Kitchen
Though it doubles as an adult kitchen at night (complete with BYOB option), Taste Buds boasts a lengthy lineup of classes for toddlers to teens and their families. Two- to five-year-olds and 5- to 8-year-olds can make pizza, doughnuts and more dishes—from unicorn cupcakes to quiche fromage—with Mom or Dad, while older kids and teens learn the recipes for dumplings, sushi, empanadas and more during family workshops and weeklong camps. Speaking of camps, TBK will host the Junior Chefs Cook Off July 15–19 and the Cooking Show Favorites camp June 3–7. Single-session classes and weeklong camps are available Monday–Saturday starting at $28 per chef, including one caregiver. Sign up online.
4120 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817/488-0538
Young Chefs Academy
At Young Chefs Academy, kids age 3 and up (Frisco), 4 and up (Rockwall and Fort Worth) learn more than just how to cook—weekly hands-on classes also teach kitchen safety, table setting, dining etiquette and more. The classes tie into a different theme each month, like April’s Authentic World Culinary Expedition, where kiddos will explore recipes from around the world. YCA divides students into three levels based on age and skill level: KinderCooks, whose lessons only run 60 minutes, and Junior Chefs and Senior Chefs, whose lessons last an hour and a half. Classes meet on various days per location; prices vary by class level and location but start at $35 per class or $95 per month. In summer, sign up for Camp Can-I-Cook, YCA’s weeklong camps and the competition-style YCA Showdown.
8855 Preston Trace Blvd., Suite 100, Frisco, 972/335-4449; friscotx.youngchefsacademy.com
910 Steger Towne Drive, Rockwall, 469/264-7445; rockwalltx.youngchefsacademy.com
6333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 260, Fort Worth, 817/989-2433; ftworthtx.youngchefsacademy.com
Satisfy your little one’s sweet tooth with decorative dessert classes at Cake Carousel. Besides stocking supplies to practice your sweets-making techniques at home, the all-things-baking store offers cake decorating and cookie baking classes year-round, though the cookies change seasonally—in April, cookies are spring- and Easter-themed. Watch the online class list (be sure to choose “grid view” to see the full selection) for specialty classes like Arlington’s Mother’s Day cookies course on May 11 and 13 or Richardson’s cookies for kids class on June 17 designed for littles 12 and under (although any age is welcome!) Generally, ages 8 and up are welcome at every class, as long as Mom or Dad comes too. Classes range from $45–$70 and are typically an hour and a half; register online. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
4623 S. Cooper St., Suite 137 Arlington, 817/375-5894
1002 N. Central Expressway, Suite 501, Richardson, 972/690-4628
Dallas Chocolate Classes
Take your young chocoholic (age 7 and up) to Dallas Chocolate Classes to learn the ins and outs of chocolate making, such as how to roll truffles and whip up a killer chocolate mousse, plus general baking tips from chocolatier and European pastry expert Zachary Townsend. Private lessons at Townsend’s home are $75 per hour for one student and $89 for two, if your kiddo wants to invite a friend (or, ahem, a chocolate-loving parent). Call for more information and to book a class.
1626 Banbury Lane, Carrollton, 214/289-5419
Little Loves Baking Academy
Learn cookie-cutting techniques, how to fill a piping bag, the finer points of cupcake decorating and more at Little Loves’ baking classes for ages 2 and up. Baking classes—including Mommy-and-me lessons where you can join in on the fun—are held seasonally during spring and summer and on holidays, but you can book a baking birthday party anytime or join a weeklong summer camp. And don’t fret if your little one is allergic to gluten—recipes can be adjusted for gluten-free bakers. For pricing information, email email@example.com, and sign up for email notifications about upcoming classes and workshops.
North Dallas area, 469-233-6769
Mind Your Manners
Dallas Country Club Cotillion
Part of the 70-year-old JDW Cotillions network, the program at Dallas Country Club maintains a reputation as one of the best cotillion programs in Dallas-Fort Worth. Boys and girls in third and fourth grades, fifth grade, and sixth grade enroll in a five-week program to learn traditional dances, self-presentation skills and fine dining etiquette like table setting, utensil usage and how to sit properly at a dinner party in addition to how to converse and make introductions with others. Registration for the fall and winter series begins May 14; contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing and more information.
Dallas area, 303/757-5333
Fort Worth Cotillion
Part of the 69-year-old JDW Cotillions network, the program at Ridglea Country Club has been teaching Fort Worth kids and teens how to act with grace and decorum for more than four decades. Kids in fifth and sixth grade learn communication skills, teamwork, and traditional dances like the waltz and foxtrot, but the standout is the program’s dining etiquette segment, which covers proper table setting, dinner party hosting and plenty of other skills that go way beyond just keeping elbows off the table. The six-week cotillion courses are offered by school grade for $235 per student. To learn more, email email@example.com.
3700 Bernie Anderson Ave., Fort Worth, 303/789-1447
Miss Persis Studio
Since 1954, Miss Persis Studio has offered a seasonal cotillion program for Arlington sixth-graders. During six Saturday lessons, students learn about formal dining presentation and etiquette, plus other social skills, before practicing their party manners at a Spring Fling event at the end of the program. (Fifties night and Country Western night are also on the schedule.) Though enrollment is not exclusive to certain schools, the studio does organize the program into four sections based on feeder school neighborhoods. $170 per person.
222 W. Main St., Arlington, 817/261-7921
Mrs. McVeigh’s Manners
Gather ’round the table for Mrs. McVeigh’s Sunday Manners class, a three-hour course all about dining etiquette, from setting the table to sending a thank-you note. Open to kids ages 3–11, the class is held at Elise McVeigh’s home near Southern Methodist University; the next session is April 15 for $95 per student. Her weeklong Summer Manners Camp in August will cover the same topics, and kids get a placemat workbook and four of Mrs. McVeigh’s Manners books to take home. $250 per camper. Other camps, six-week series and one-time classes are held throughout the year, or schedule a private lesson starting at $125 per hour. Register online or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dallas area, 214/212-2033
National League of Junior Cotillions (Frisco and Plano)
The Frisco and Plano chapters of the National League of Junior Cotillions offer a three-year curriculum to teach sixth to eighth grade boys and girls a range of etiquette lessons, from perfecting first impressions to social media and technology manners. But a pillar of the course is the lessons in both formal dining and family dining, with guidance on dinner party decorum, proper table manners and eating “unusual foods” with grace (so there’s no excuse the next time you serve up Brussels sprouts!). The Frisco chapter holds lessons at Stonebriar Country Club and the Plano chapter at Gleneagles Country Club. Classes kick off at the start of the school year and culminate in a Grand Spring Ball in March. $450 per child; contact program director Shannon Babovac at email@example.com for more information.
5050 Country Club Drive, Frisco // 5401 W. Park Blvd., Plano // 469/633-9698
National League of Junior Cotillions
Under the over 25-year-old National League of Junior Cotillions umbrella, the league offers traditional cotillion classes for middle schoolers and elementary grades that highlight everything from personal presentation to dining etiquette. But it’s the series of three-day pre-cotillion classes for first- through fourth-graders that set director Jayne G. Smith’s program apart from the rest. Little ones receive a formal introduction to setting the table, using utensils, fast food etiquette and even how to eat soup (say goodbye to slurping!). The one-and-a-half-hour class will be offered from June 11–13 at the Lantana Country Club. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and availability.
Owner and “Royal Court Queen” Wanda Sykes-Moore has led four-hour manners courses out of her home since 2006. Duchesses and dukes ages 9–12 learn table manners and basic grooming habits. Princesses and princes ages 13–17 learn formal dining etiquette and good posture while developing respect for self and others. For course focused exclusively on dining, call to reserve an Etiquette Dinner Court lesson for a group of 10 or more. Classes are available in both group settings ($135 per person) and private lessons ($150 per person). Email Sykes-Moore at email@example.com for more information.
The Colony, 469/384-1095
Your little “gem” (to use Ruby Etiquette’s parlance) can learn self-confidence, respect and etiquette through small-group classes with other girls and teens age 5 and up. The mobile manners instruction company offers multiple packages; topics and number of classes vary per package and cover everything from coping with bullies to table manners, but we recommend the Ruby Package, which includes an entire class devoted to dining etiquette, including the importance of proper table setting, formal use of napkins and dinner party do’s and don’ts. The cherry on top: The Ruby girls put their skills to the test by sharing a meal together at the end of the program. Classes start at $50 per student per session. For more information and to arrange a Ruby Etiquette class at a public North Dallas destination, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
North Dallas, 972/762-6802
Texas Etiquette Academy & Finishing School
Book a tea party—complete with etiquette lesson—for your prince or princess and all their friends from Texas Etiquette Academy & Finishing School. Social skills need polishing first? Director and mom of five Misty Harris and her team offer etiquette classes for kids 5 and up. Classes focused on dining skills including utensil usage, party manners, conversation skills and more are available the second Saturday of April, June, August, October and December for $75. For a more customized education, Harris offers private lessons—priced between $75 and $500 per student—to focus on specific etiquette skills, like fine dining and dinner party hosting. Sign up for classes online, or email email@example.com to inquire about private lessons.
Fort Worth, 817/476-0138
This article was originally published in 2018.