A local couple want to give back to the community by helping introduce kids to the kitchen.
Angela and Nicholas Popoff, who own three locations of Little Kitchen Academy in the Lower Mainland – including one in South Surrey and one in Panorama Village in Surrey – are opening up hundreds of free drop-in classes through the rest of their winter season, which finishes March 12, to any children aged three to 18 who have not yet tried LKA.
The Montessori-inspired cooking academy providing a safe and empowering environment to learn life skills, confidence, independence, and healthy eating habits to last a lifetime, Angela Popoff said Sunday.
“They’ll learn practical life skills, independence inside and out of the kitchen, and about food literacy,” she said.
“We just inspire the next generation to be healthy.”
Classes are available for children aged three to five, six to eight, nine to 12 and for 13- to 18-year-olds.
Founded by Vancouver locals Brian and Felicity Curin, the the first LKA location opened in Point Grey. Iron Chef Cat Cora is a brand ambassador.
Now, Popoff and her husband own the two Surrey locations, as well as one in Richmond, and have plans to expand.
Kids love being in the LKA kitchen, Popoff said.
“They love doing all of these things – things that maybe they’re not allowed to do at home – in a safe environment where they are with peers and friends learning at the same pace,” she said.
“They might be trying new ingredients they never tried before or even heard of.”
LKA kitchens don’t cook with any meat or seafood, but there is often baking and breakfast, so ingredients like eggs are used.
Statistics show more than 90 per cent of children don’t eat enough vegetables, but more than that, LKA also educates its students about buying locally, and using what is in season.
“It’s a little bit more price conscious when you use (vegetables) that grow within the season… they’re not being shipped from anywhere. We’re thinking of the environment and cutting down on shipping costs,” Popoff explained, noting they encourage students to support their local grocers and also, to grow their own fruits and vegetables.
Group bookings are offered for groups of up to 10 students are available, she said, which can be good for sports teams and athletes to learn about health and nutrition.
The couple are offering hundreds of free classes through all three locations, to kids aged three to 18 who have never tried LKA.
“We’re excited and honoured to be able to pay it forward to our community,” Popoff said.
The kids’ favourite part of the session?
“They love sitting down at the end of the journey and eating together at the community table,” Popoff said.
“It really creates a camaraderie and good communication about what exactly they’ve been learning at LKA. There’s always a lot of smiles in the kitchen! We have a lot of fun.”
To access the free drop-in classes available, visit the LKA website and choose the location.
If potential LKA students have any allergies or dietary restrictions, they can share through the website or contact LKA prior to the course.
For the South Surrey location, located at 15355 24 Ave., use promotional code LKASOUTHSURREYGIVES and for the Surrey kitchen, located at 15230 Hwy 10, use LKAPANORAMAGIVES