Little Kitchen Academy Investor and Ontario Development Partner Caroline Irving, Who Brought the Sky Zone Franchise to Canada, Will Help Company Expand to 50 Locations in Ontario, Changing Lives from Scratch in Communities across the Province
Today, Little Kitchen Academy (LKA) announced it has signed its largest franchise deal to date to develop 50 locations throughout Ontario by 2025. This deal will strategically grow the company’s already strong presence in Ontario, with LKA Oakville open and operating since July 2021 and four more locations in the Greater Toronto Area scheduled to open in 2022. Caroline Irving, LKA global investor and now area representative for Ontario, who brought the Sky Zone franchise to Canada, will open five locations of her own while also supporting LKA franchise partners in the province. Irving is married to award-winning documentary filmmaker Mike Downie, who, with his late brother Gord, founded The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, the largest charity in the country dedicated to Indigenous Reconciliation. Ontario is particularly important for LKA, being a key market for the company, representing 50 locations out of the company’s goal of 423 worldwide by 2025. It is also home to some of the company’s key partners and investors, including entrepreneur, television personality, and venture capitalist, Bruce Croxon, and strategic brand partner, Chef Works Canada.
“This is a major milestone, as it is our largest franchise deal to date, and it accelerates our development in this important market so more families in Ontario can experience the gift of Little Kitchen Academy,” said Brian Curin, CEO & co-founder of Little Kitchen Academy. “We are delighted to have Caroline as our partner in changing lives from scratch and know she will be a great support to our franchise partners throughout Ontario. She has shown such enthusiasm for Little Kitchen Academy, first as an investor and now as our area rep for Ontario. Finding someone as like-minded as Caroline is rare, and we are thrilled to start this journey with her.”
Irving has a strong background in successfully operating franchise concepts, as she brought the first Sky Zone franchise to Canada in 2011, developing it throughout the Greater Toronto Area. She sold her four locations in late 2019 and was on a break from the business world when she learned about Little Kitchen Academy.
“I wanted to give something back for my birthday this year so I posted on my Facebook page looking for Toronto-area women starting businesses that I could support with a grant,” said Caroline Irving. “Hayley Sexton, who is opening two locations in Toronto with her husband Eamon, reached out to me. As I learned more about Little Kitchen Academy, I knew I wanted to support her, but I also realized that I wanted to help bring this incredible concept to more children in Ontario! For me, Little Kitchen Academy is much more than just a business opportunity, it’s laying the foundation for a movement – one where children grow up to be teens and then young adults with the confidence and skills to look at food and meal preparation as a fun and meaningful part of living a healthy life.”
This deal, the largest yet for the rapidly growing concept that opened its first location in Vancouver just over two years ago, brings the total number of locations in development to 120 out of the company’s goal of 423 globally by the end of 2025. The company currently has four locations open in Canada and the U.S. with more opening this fall.
About Little Kitchen Academy
Little Kitchen Academy (LKA) is the key ingredient for an independent child. The first-of-its-kind, Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages three through teen is 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 effect 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, and Goemans. Little Kitchen Academy’s flagship venues are located in Vancouver, B.C. and Los Angeles, Calif.