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What Does a Teaching Kitchen Have to Do with Entrepreneurship?

What Does a Teaching Kitchen Have to Do with Entrepreneurship?

By
Stephen Carter
December 11, 2023
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Step foot on the campus of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA) and you’ll witness our “Hub of Entrepreneurship.” Rather than an innovation lab or business think tank, our hub of entrepreneurship consists of a rather strange building that is part state-of-the-art greenhouse and part fully commercial teaching kitchen.

“How is this the hub of entrepreneurship?” you ask. “Take a look inside,” we reply, guiding you through the various businesses that operate in the site and showing you a literal small business incubator where students practice ideation, creation, launch, and growth in real time.

In the fall of 2021, CHCA became the first K-12 school in the world to join the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative—a collaborative born out of the work of David Eisenberg of the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Since then, we have used the space to teach the entrepreneurial mindset through culinary classes, elementary visits, and small business internships.

Our students have launched a wood-fired pizza oven business, a bakery business, a catering business, and the world’s first fine dining business situated in a K-12 school.

Using the skills they have honed through their work in our entrepreneurship and sustainability program, students are ready to take their entrepreneurial mindset and apply it to all areas of life.

Most recently this has meant redefining the traditional health class into a newly created “Elevated Wellness” class taught by a culinary instructor, horticulture manager, and wellness coach. After all, what good is the entrepreneurial mindset if students don’t have the balance and wellness to enjoy it?

And the beauty of this is in the replicability. Most schools have the capacity for a teaching kitchen on their campus—maybe not built on the back of a greenhouse, but certainly in an under-used classroom or former home economics space. There is even a model to transform a traditional cafeteria into an innovative kitchen both functional and educational.

And from there, entrepreneurship can take off. Reach out to connect with me for next steps.

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Sometimes Student Engagement Means Handmade Pasta

 

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