Cooking with children! Our Little Sous Chef whisking up a cup of Matcha
Worldschooler whisking up a cup of Matcha. Making a traditional drink for a Japanese lunch with the children at our international Montessori school in central Japan

Our Philosophy

We believe each and every meal we enjoy together is an opportunity for learning, bonding, and family fun! From sourcing ingredients to deciding what to eat, preparing, and cooking the food; from taking that first bite to cleaning up afterward; and all of the conversations throughout, we believe every member of the family–from infants to adults–can and should be deeply involved in each and every step of the process. Cooking with children doesn’t have to be a torturous or a challenging process. It can be the most enjoyable educational experience in your day–AND, it’s edible, too!

Our Story

We are an American family of hands-on learners who ran an International Montessori School in Japan for many years before deciding to sell it all and travel the world full time. Our kitchen has always been a place of learning. We want to use this space to stay connected to our international family, to share lessons from our various global kitchens, and to continue to build a like-minded community of learners.

Our Kitchen Classroom is the home of a series of Worldschooling cooking lessons that open the door to a variety of global cuisines. Whether you are the parent of a homeschooling, unschooling, or Worldschooling family like Chef Karen, or you follow some other educational pedogogy, these lessons are a wonderful place to begin to explore the most practical aspects of what child centered, learner led, self directed education can look like in your home. Cooking with children provides daily opportunities to travel the world while learning every imaginable subject under the sun in the most meaningful and memorable ways. Children of all ages can participate in the discoveries that will encourage them to become lifelong lovers of learning, as well as compassionate Global Citizens.

Welcome to Our Kitchen Classroom, where we invite you to #PLAYwithYourFood, and rediscover just how delicious learning can be for the whole family!

Who’s in the Kitchen?

Head Chef Karen M. Ricks, Our Kitchen Classroom
Karen M. Ricks, Head Chef at Our Kitchen Classroom

Karen M. Ricks

Head Chef

A Montessorian from childhood, Karen loves to talk food, loves to cook, and loves to eat. When she’s not singing in the kitchen, you might find her curled up under a warm blanket reading a cookbook or a food blog.

Our Little Sous, Worldschooler Christopher Varnes, wearing his special Our Kitchen Classroom toque and apron in Tirana, Albania
Our Little Sous

Our Little Sous

Sous Chef and Head Taster

Our Little Sous has been helping in the kitchen since infancy, reaching out from his sling on mommy’s hip to participate in all the cooking. His favorite meal usually includes scrambled eggs or pasta with a tomato sauce from scratch, which he prepares all by himself.

Chef de Partie Dave Varnes, weightlifting in the gym he created and managed at our international Montessori school in Nagano prefecture in central Japan for many years.

Dave Varnes

Chef de Partie

As a self-proclaimed carnivore of the highest order, Dave is more than happy to fire up the grill on short notice (preferably wood, but gas will do in a pinch). He’s also OK with washing up when his cooking skills aren’t required.