Rooks to Cooks is the leading culinary school for children in the GTA! Kids learn to cook, but they also learn about nutrition, self-sufficiency, team-work, safety + more. Keep your kids busy, engaged & learning with fascinating virtual cooking programs. Experienced chefs guide them through recipes in the comfort of their kitchen while having fun interacting with peers online!
The 2020/21 Experience at Rooks to Cooks
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our in-person camps and classes. For the safety of our campers and staff, Rooks to Cooks made the decision to offer virtual instruction only. We have successfully pivoted to offer Virtual Cooking Classes, Camps and Workshops + more! Our virtual culinary academy was built to teach our students foundational culinary knowledge and skills in a fun, engaging and interactive way.
All programs are conducted LIVE on Zoom by our experienced and passionate chef instructors. Through step-by-step instruction, your chef-to-be will learn valuable life and cooking skills as they cook their way through 5-star menus inspired by the season. While learning and practicing new culinary skills, their chefs will also share industry knowledge and theory promoting a holistic learning environment.
Zoom links, consolidated shopping lists, recipes, equipment needs, and set up instructions will be sent 1 week before your course. All savoury recipes will yield 4 servings to help with family meal prep!
Whether your child is a beginner looking to get the basics down or a budding chef eager to expand their recipe repertoire, build on their current foundation of knowledge and take their skills to the next level, Rooks to Cooks has a program for them.View recent COVID-19 updates from Rooks to Cooks
Lead by a professional chef in a professional kitchen, for kids with an interest in cooking Rooks to Cooks is a opportunity to be immersed in the techniques as well as the culture of cuisine. Camps stress the essentials, including navigating any kitchen safely and effectively, as well having fun, eating well, being creative, and working well with others. Sessions are nicely varied to drill down on specific skills and skill levels, from baking to international flavours, from tyro to master. Sessions are developed to appeal to growing palettes, nutritionally and culturally. As founder Chef Shai Mandel rightly notes, cooking is about much more than making good food. It requires a sense of materials, chemistry, organization, and managing complex steps and procedures. That perspective, and Shai’s ability to bring it to the fore is a strength of the Rooks to Cooks programs.
Shai Mandel, Founder and CEO
Bachelor of Kinesiology, Wilfrid Laurier University. Bachelor of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University. Chef Training Certificate, George Brown College
Hi there, my name is Chef Shai Mandel and I am pleased to introduce you to Rooks to Cooks!
Rooks to Cooks is the GTA’s leading culinary school for children, offering a vast array of services from our award winning summer culinary camps to our new virtual after school programs, workshops and virtual camps!
As a certified teacher and professional chef of 14 years, I know there is no better way to educate and inspire youth, in all areas of life, than cooking. Learning to cook is an integral life skill and I have had the privilege of witnessing, on a regular basis, the impact that teaching a child to cook can have on their lives. It builds independence, self-sufficiency, but most importantly builds self-confidence. When a child or teen is truly confident in themselves, they are not only prepared for what life can throw at them, but they are empowered and inspired to follow their dreams.
Rooks to Cooks is not your typical youth cooking program. Our culinary school offers innovative, high quality, hands-on culinary programs unparalleled by others of similar nature. What sets our program apart is simple, we are experts in culinary education for children and take a holistic approach to culinary education. With a team of certified teachers, holistic nutritionists, mental health advocates and real chefs, our curriculum not only teaches youth how to cook and the why’s behind the practical skills, but in the process they learn a whole lot more! By participating in one of our awesome programs, your child will learn culinary skills, responsibility, independence, nutrition, problem solving, and apply math and science in the real world. Imagine the value of these life skills to your child - all while expanding their palates, getting creative and having fun!
In our inspiring, creative and educational classes, your child will have a fulfilling, exciting virtual experience with our top-notch professional instructors and like-minded peers online. We keep our class sizes small (1:8 chef to student ratio) and are constantly striving to provide exciting new recipes and new skills for our students to learn! Our focus is on offering the best quality culinary programs that provide significant life-long skills and value to our students and families. We invite you to join us and experience our outstanding classes!
About Chef Shai Mandel: Shai has a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree, as well as an Ontario Teaching Certificate and a Chef Training Certificate. Over the past 6 years, Shai and her team have had the privilege of teaching over 7,000 students how to cook through summer camps, after school programs, birthday parties, workshops and private lessons. www.rookstocooks.ca
Are meals provided? Yes
Is Rooks to Cooks technology free? Yes
Personal technology (ex. smart phones, mp3 players, tablets etc) may be used during break time. If a camper would like to take a picture of his/her meals, they are welcome to, but must put their devices away afterwards.
Cost: $175 /week
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"A few days late but I just wanted to say how much my daughter enjoyed the Budding Bakers Sr. camp with you and your helpers. She learned a lot and had a ton of fun. She really enjoyed the pop-up restaurant challenge. We loved it too! Yummy! Thank you to you and your team for making the experience so much fun and so positive. Looking forward to more cooking adventures on the horizon :-)"
"My kids absolutely loved Rooks To Cooks and chef Shai!
If your kids are picky eaters, you should definitely try this class - chef Shai will get them to try anything, and I mean anything! By the end of her class, my child, who would only eat pasta (no sauce), made his own sushi and ate it too!
The summer camp is also great, the pop-up restaurant at the end of the week is awesome. It's a full scale production and kids have a blast.
Definitely recommend it!"
"My 6 year old daughter just completed a week at Rooks to Cooks and loved it! She developed a real interest in cooking and will definitely be returning next year. Chef Shai is amazing and I would highly recommend this camp!"
"My 10yr son just completed a week of Rooks to Cooks and had a fantastic time! He learned so much and really enjoyed every bit of it. This camp was well organized and I am so impressed with the meals they made. Chef Shai and her team did a great job inspiring the kids to want to learn more about cooking and help out with meals at home! I highly recommend this camp. :)"
"Great class, the restaurant at the end really helped complete the week and taught us all how a real restaurant operates. All the recipes are amazing. Thanks Chef Shai"
"Rooks for Cooks did a wonderful Pie Making Class for my daughter's birthday party. The girls loved it, as did my husband and I!! Chef Shai and her team are fun, engaging, organized and professional. I would definitely do it again!"
"I took a pie making class with Shai and she was incredible. I had cooked and baked my whole life but she taught me specific things about dough that I never knew. Not just for pies but for other baked goods as well. Now that I know, I always use her techniques. And everybody now loves my baking!!"
"Shai is an AMAZING teacher! She's funny, welcoming and has an answer for every question. While teaching me to make some killer donuts she even taught me a bit of the chemistry involved, which I really enjoyed (and it's not easy to make chemistry interesting). Gotta give her a 5/5 :)"
"In just a couple of hours, I learned so much about cooking. I never thought I'd be able to make better dumplings than the one's I'd get from my favourite restaurants. From prep to plating, you remained patient and thoughtful - you are very passionate about teaching people how to cook. I can't wait to learn more from you!"
"Chef Shai Mandel has a winning way with kids. She is warm, engaging, patient and funny. Above all, she is passionate about teaching kids and youth that eating well and preparing home-cooked food is a life skill. Her lessons are fuss-free, practical and kids love them. Shai knows that the earlier in life that you start learning how to cook simple meals, the better, and her approach builds a young person's independence and encourages their interest in how to eat fresh food well!"
"Shai is an amazing teacher. She manages to be engaging and fun while imparting practical knowledge. Her recipes are wonderful and her food is delicious! My son did some in-home private lessons with Shai. He learned a lot and enjoyed his experience tremendously."
"I've had two amazing experiences with chef Shai. First was a pie baking class last summer where we made the best apple pie I've ever tasted. Then Chef Shai taught a group of 8 friends how to prepare various fish dishes with amazing sides and dessert. We all had a blast and got to learn from the most wonderful teacher. I would highly recommend Shai to young and not so young wannabe cooks. Her style and expertise are superb."
"Learning to cook with Rooks to Cooks was so much fun! Shai is patient, kind, professional and incredibly knowledgeable. She made advanced skills manageable and in two hours I created what felt like a gourmet meal. Learning to cook myself has always been uninspiring. With Shai's knowledge, I feel I will have the tools to cook more on my own. The cost of lessons will pay in health and reduced take out! Thanks Shai."
"My kids can't stop raving about Shai!!!
We've had two in-home classes now and I have nothing but good things to say. My sons, 6 and 8, love their classes. The classes are fun but they are also actually learning cooking techniques and knife skills. My younger son is a ridiculously picky eater but after just two classes with Shai he's become more willing to try new foods.
Shai is engaging and lots of fun and as a trained teacher, she can maintain order and hold kids attention. I highly recommend Rooks to Cooks."
"Shai taught me how to make Macarons, and even how to do swirly patterns and stuff on them. You were so thoughtful and attentive in the lesson! Thanks Shai!!!"
"Thanks to Chef Shai for a wonderfull, delicious and informative sushi cooking class for my daughter's 17th birthday. Her friends and I learned how to make professional grade sushi, tempura, sauces and how to dice and slice like professional chefs. I have highly recommended our experience to other friends and will absolutely do another class very soon."
"Thanks for the amazing sushi class, Shai! My friends and I had a blast and the sushi was amazing!"
February 7, 2021
Join Rooks to Cooks for a Free Valentine's Day Baking Workshop
Rooks to Cooks is showing appreciation + love to community with FREE Valentine’s Day workshop for kids & families on Feb. 12/21... Read More
March 23, 2020
Rooks to Cooks NEW Online Cooking Videos for kids
Join Rooks to Cooks WEEKDAYS starting Mon. March 23 at 11AM for their New ONLINE Cooking Videos for Kids on YouTube.... Read More
January 10, 2019
Summer Cooking Fun at 12 GTA Locations
Rooks to Cooks is thrilled to offer their Summer Cooking Camps at 12 convenient GTA locations. 10 delicious sessions available!... Read More