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Little Kitchen Academy to Open First Two Franchise Locations in the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area in July

VANCOUVER, CANADA – JUNE 2, 2021 – Little Kitchen Academy (LKA), the first-of-its-kind, Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages three through teen, has gained significant traction since opening its Point Grey location in Vancouver just two years ago. Proving to have been nearly pandemic proof, today the company announced it will open its first two franchise locations in July. The first franchise location will open in South Surrey, British Columbia, on July 12. The second will open in Oakville, in the Greater Toronto area, on July 17. The company has an ambitious goal of opening 423 franchise and company-owned locations by the end of 2025 and has signed deals for more than 50 locations during the pandemic. The first location in the U.S. will open this August in Los Angeles.

The quickly growing concept, with over 17,000 student visits at their Point Grey flagship, is the realization of a long-held dream of Montessori-trained culinary innovator Felicity Curin; her husband, proven global brand and franchise expert and serial entrepreneur, Brian Curin; and social impact investor and entrepreneur, Praveen Varshney, to provide a safe, inspiring, and empowering space for children to gain invaluable practical life skills.

In their search for like-minded multi-unit franchisee and development partners, LKA found Nicholas Popoff, CEO of Redemption Management, and his wife Angela, who will open 29 locations in British Columbia, with the first opening in South Surrey. Nicholas and Angela founded and run a family of popular restaurants and hospitality offerings: ONYX | steak seafood bar, Pearl Bistro & Oyster Bar, Jaded Wines and Aquamarine Catering. LKA also met Felicia Sia, who will open the company’s first Toronto area location in Oakville, soon to be followed by her second location in Mississaugua. Sia, a kitchen aficionado and mother, has a decade of culinary experience as a product developer and account manager at Janes Family Foods, Associated Brands (a division of Treehouse Foods), CCC Ingredients and Roha.

“This is an important moment for Little Kitchen Academy as a company, with our first franchise locations opening less than two years after we opened our Point Grey Flagship location, with many more coming soon,” said Brian Curin, LKA’s CEO and co-founder. “We are delighted to share the gift of Little Kitchen Academy with more children and families and for these communities to feel the positive impact as we start changing lives from scratch together with our franchisees.”

“When children enter our kitchen and put on their chef coats, they stand a little bit taller. We see them transform in front of our eyes! It’s so inspiring to watch the overwhelming joy and pride our students feel at the end of class, when their parents or caregivers come to pick them up and they get to show off the meal they made, from scratch to consumption! We can’t wait for families in Oakville and South Surrey to experience Little Kitchen Academy for the first time,” said Felicity Curin, LKA founder, president, and COO.

LKA Official Ambassador and Honorary Head of Recipe Development, Iron Chef Cat Cora, is delighted that more children will be learning practical life skills in new cities. “Little Kitchen Academy is so important to me. When I first met Brian and Felicity and learned about the concept, I immediately knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. When I experienced a class and saw how empowered and independent the students were in the kitchen in response to the caring Montessori-inspired approach, I was certain that we had to share this incredible gift with as many children as possible,” said Cat Cora. “I’m so excited for our first franchise locations to open this July and can’t wait until I can go visit them in person!” Cora has served as a key advisor to the company since opening its doors in June 2019. (Hear why Cora is aligned with LKA at: https://youtu.be/b-zR6Lcltxs)

Seasonal sessions will run year-round and are organized by age group (ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 13+ years old). Students experience a three-hour class once a week during the school year or over five consecutive days during Summer, Winter, and Spring breaks. Each week, students learn how to make healthy, delicious, and seasonal meals from scratch to consumption—all while experimenting with math and science concepts, working on their reading skills, and polishing up their table manners by sharing meals around the LKA Community Table (made with more than 33,000 recycled chopsticks). Sessions are limited to just 10 students and are overseen by three instructors. The curriculum focuses on seasonal, locally grown, and organic produce and ingredients, and students enjoy the fruits of their labor for a “scratch to consumption” experience at the end of each lesson. All students are welcome in this fully inclusive program, including those with learning or other disabilities. The program, which is nut, meat, poultry, and seafood free, can also accommodate those with gluten, dairy, or other allergies.

LKA’s Montessori-inspired environment is organized to support the growth and development of each child. Instructors show the students how to safely use tools, but step back to closely observe the independent work, only stepping in when deemed appropriate. This approach enables students to learn at their own pace while they acquire practical life skills that foster independence, confidence, and socialization. LKA further empowers students to make better food choices, to apply age-appropriate math and science skills in real-world settings, and to embrace practices such as recycling, composting, and the concept of philanthropy in order to make positive, socially conscious contributions to the world through its recently announced global philanthropic initiative “How Can I Help,” which empowers students to learn about giving back and making a difference by putting the choice in their hands to support one of three notable causes: Chefs for Humanity, The Global FoodBanking Network, Kids Help Phone (Canadian locations), and PHIT America (U.S. locations).

The South Surrey and Oakville Little Kitchen Academy locations will feature the brand’s signature innovative and modern design and include 10 individual cooking stations (a.k.a. Little Kitchens); a handwashing station; a living food wall powered by AeroGarden for students to grow and harvest fruits, vegetables, and herbs for use in their creations; the LKA Community Table made by ChopValue from more than 33,000 recycled chopsticks; a stocked pantry and refrigeration system for the children to gather their ingredients; laundry facilities for the chef coats; an educational recycling and composting area; and restrooms. Each of the 10 individual cooking stations includes an oven, induction cooktop, sink, cleaning and sanitizing supplies, prep table, KitchenAid mixer, and all the equipment and utensils needed to make the “from scratch” creations including vegetable peelers, rolling pins, measuring spoons, and colanders, which are meticulously kept, cleaned, and commercially sanitized between each class.

Registration for summer sessions is now open for three locations: LKA Point Grey (Greater Vancouver, BC), LKA South Surrey (Greater Vancouver, BC), and LKA Oakville (Greater Toronto, ON). Prices vary by location.

About Little Kitchen Academy

Little Kitchen Academy (LKA) is the first-of-its-kind, Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages three through teen, focused on providing a safe, inspiring, and empowering space for children to identify, develop and refine their senses. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the concept was co-founded by proven global brand and franchise expert and serial entrepreneur Brian Curin, his wife, Montessori-trained, culinary expert, and visionary Felicity Curin, and social impact investor and entrepreneur Praveen Varshney, on the belief that by empowering children with practical life skills and knowledge in a positive and joyful environment, they and their company will affect positive lifestyle changes that result in a healthier world. True to its mission, LKA lives to create a more educated, able and healthy society through mindful, healthy eating choices, and is committed to changing lives, from scratch to consumption. Part of that mission includes empowering students to learn how they can make the world a better place through How Can I Help by Little Kitchen Academy, LKA’s signature philanthropic program, supporting Chefs for Humanity, The Global FoodBanking Network, Kids Help Phone, and PHIT America. In addition to charitable partnerships, LKA has forged strategic global brand partnerships with Iron Chef Cat Cora, AeroGarden, BIRKENSTOCK, ChefWorks, Emeco, ChopValue, Welcome Industries,  Location3, PRISE Inc.KitchenAid Canada, Goemans, and Trail Appliances. Little Kitchen Academy’s flagship venues are located in Vancouver, BC and Los Angeles, CA.

For a taste of Little Kitchen Academy, visit littlekitchenacademy.com or join its communities on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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