LKA Ontario Area Rep and Global Investor, Caroline Irving, Will Open Her First of Five Locations in Vaughan, Ontario, Expanding the Company’s Presence in the Greater Toronto Area
Today Little Kitchen Academy (LKA) announced it will be opening a new location in Vaughan, Ont. in summer 2022. LKA Ontario Area Rep and Global Investor, Caroline Irving, will open LKA Vaughan, the company’s sixth location in the Greater Toronto Area, and the first of five locations Irving will open in Ontario. As Area Rep, Irving will support the development of 50 locations across the province by 2025. Currently, the company has one location open in Ontario, LKA Oakville, with four more locations in addition to LKA Vaughan currently in development: LKA The Beach, LKA High Park, LKA Leaside, and LKA Mississauga. 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. Irving also is the proud mother of five children and 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 a key market for LKA, representing 50 locations out of the company’s goal of 423 globally by 2025. It also is 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.
“We are grateful to have found such a like-minded partner in Caroline, who is so committed to our purpose, first by becoming an investor in the company, then signing on to be our Area Rep for Ontario, and now beginning the process to open her own location in Vaughan,” said Brian Curin, CEO & co-founder of Little Kitchen Academy. “We are delighted to share the gift of Little Kitchen Academy with more families throughout Ontario and can’t wait for Caroline to welcome her first students to LKA Vaughan as she continues her journey of changing lives from scratch.”
LKA Vaughan will be the first of five locations that Irving will open in Ontario and the sixth in the province. In addition to opening her own locations, Irving will support LKA franchise partners across Ontario.
“I am thrilled to be opening my first location in Vaughan,” said Caroline Irving, Ontario Area Rep. “I believe so much in the importance of Little Kitchen Academy and know the impact we are having on children’s lives. I am excited for children in Vaughan to experience our safe, empowering environment while learning practical life skills and growing their independence.”
LKA’s Official Brand Ambassador, Cat Cora, the first female Iron Chef and recipient of The President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama, is delighted to see more LKA locations opening. “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. “As a mother, I was drawn to and am completely aligned with the unique curriculum and food philosophy. There’s never been a time when a program like this was more needed than now.” Cora has served as a key advisor to the company since opening its doors in June 2019. (Hear why Cora wanted to be a part of changing lives from scratch with LKA at: https://youtu.be/b-zR6Lcltxs)
Seasonal Sessions Year-round
Seasonal sessions 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. In each class, 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, also can accommodate those with gluten, dairy, or other allergies.
The Montessori Approach
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 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. Learn more about LKA’s innovative philanthropic program: https://littlekitchenacademy.com/how-can-i-help/
The Inspiration and Trajectory
LKA is the brain trust of Founder Felicity Curin, a mother of three, who combined three of her life-long passions: cooking, education, and children. She is a trained chef who began her career at Earls Restaurants, a Canadian-based upscale eatery chain. She also is the daughter of the founding headmaster of the prestigious West Point Grey Academy and took her natural ability to teach and love for children to the classroom by getting her (AMI) Association Montessori Internationale teaching degree. The idea for Little Kitchen Academy was born in 2018, and Felicity opened her first location in June 2019. Her husband and co-founder, Brian Curin, quickly developed the brand and franchise model, secured the company’s early investors and advisors, and set out to secure global partners and the first multi-unit franchisees and development partners. Four locations are now open in Canada and the U.S. with more than 140 in development including two locations opening soon, LKA Panorama and LKA Edgemont.
Little Kitchen Academy is currently seeking like-minded multi-unit franchisees and development partners based exclusively in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In Canada LKA is focused on expanding further into Alberta, select markets in B.C., and Ontario. Globally, Australia, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, MENA region, Singapore, Spain, and the U.K. are markets available for development with LKA.
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.