Learn to Cook with Chef Joel Olson!

Chef Joel offers great cooking classes and workshops for kids and teens  in Madison, WI.

Class sizes are limited.

Register now!

Email now to reserve a spot:  hemmachef@gmail.com

Children of all levels of ability, interest, and experience are welcome in Chef Joel’s cooking classes.  They will learn to cook and develop their love of food and fellowship through fun, hands-on classes and workshops that focus on developing cooking skills that will last a lifetime.

Children’s classes are generally tailored for children ages 8-15, but older teens are also welcome in many classes and camps.  Classes just for Teens are listed here.  Younger children (ages 6-8) are welcome in Chef Joel’s Parent-Child Classes.  If you have any questions about whether classes are appropriate for your child, please contact Chef Joel.

Chef Joel has considerable experience working with persons with physical and developmental disabilities.  He feels strongly that all individuals, regardless of ability levels, can successfully participate in culinary classes and he works hard with all students to ensure that they fully participate in each class.

Chef Joel may offer classes on days when Madison (MMSD) schools are off or have early release so your children can learn useful skills while having fun.  Please note the Location for each class.

For information on special culinary events for children, such as Birthday Parties, Scouting events, special celebrations and more click here.




6/18-19 (Mon-Tues) 1:00-4:00pm – International Mini-Camp: Jamaican & Persian Cuisines

Try some new, international flavors from these two cultures with amazing culinary offerings.  Persian food, like Persian culture, has been around since the dawn of civilization and incorporates a great range of spices and foods.  Jamaican cuisine is also amazingly varied and has incorporated influences from all of the many cultures who’ve been on the island, including indigenous people, the Spanish, Irish, British, Africans, Indian and Chinese.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Course Cost: $100.

Day One:  Jamaican: Menu:  Jamaican Meat Pies (fresh-made pastry filled with a flavorful, savory mixture of meat and vegetables); Stamp and Go (Salt Cod fritters); Jerk Chicken with Black Beans and Rice; Fried Sweet Plantains; Mango Mousse with Island Spiced Sugar Cookies.

Day Two:  Persian: Menu:  Kuku Sibzamini (saffron and potato fritters); Mast-o-khiar (Persian-style cucumber dip); Nan-e-Barbari (Persian Flatbread); Beef Kofte (meatballs with mint and garlic); Chelo (Persian steamed white rice); and Nan-E-Berenji (rice cookies with poppy seeds).

6/18 (Mon) 5-7:30pm – Kids Cheese-Making Workshop

In this class kids will learn to make homemade cheese from scratch (well, actually from milk)!  Basic principles of cheese-making and materials will be discussed.  Kids will then make cheese and will use their freshly-made cheeses to make a delicious dinner.  On the menu:  Quick Mozzarella; Queso Blanco; and Whole Milk Ricotta Cheeses.  Also, Grilled Mozzarella and Herb Sandwiches; Tostadas with Queso Blanco; Ricotta Cannoli Dip with Sugar Crisps.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

6/26 (Tues) 5:00-7:30pm – Kids Summer Rolls Workshop

Summer rolls are delicious and nutritious.  Fresh, not fried; filled with fragrant fresh herbs, rice vermicelli and protein; then wrapped in rice paper and served with dipping sauces, summer rolls are fun to make and great to eat.  Kids will learn techniques to make a variety of Summer Rolls including Classic Vietnamese Vegetarian Summer Rolls; Korean BBQ Beef Summer Rolls; Shredded Pork Summer Rolls; and Chicken and Broccoli Summer Rolls, as well as Mirin Soy Sauce and Nuac Cham Dipping Sauce.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

7/2-3 (Mon-Tues) 1:00-4:00pm – International Mini-Camp: Pan-Asian Cuisines

Take a culinary adventure across Asia!  Dishes from many different Asian countries will be prepared so kids can explore new flavors and ingredients.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Course Cost: $100.

Day One: Chinese Hot and Sour Soup with Carrots and Shoots; Tibetan Cha Sha Momos (chicken dumplings); Japanese Sukiyaki (Beef, Mushrooms, Spinach and Asian-style Vegetable Platter); Scallion Flatbread; Thai Fried Bananas

Day Two:  Thai Lemongrass and Chicken Soup; Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice with Sautéed Vegetables, Beef and Egg); San Bei Ji (Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken); Manor Kho To Hu  (Cambodian Caramelized Pineapple and Tofu); Dora Yaki (Japanese Pancakes with Sweet Bean Paste)

7/9 (Mon) 5:00-7:30pm – Mamma Mia: That’s Italian! (Kids)

Kids will learn how to prepare a classic homemade Italian meal and will get to enjoy eating it – maybe even with red-checked tablecloths!  On the Menu:  Minestrone Soup; Creamy Caesar Salad; Mama Mia Meatballs with Zeppoli (Italian fried bread); and kid-friendly “Tiramisu” for dessert.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

7/10 (Tues) 5:00-7:30pm – Pizza, Pizza, Pizza (Kids)

Kids will work together to make pizza dough and tomato sauce from scratch and then prepare a variety of delicious homemade pizzas.  On the menu:  Classic Pizza Dough; Whole Wheat Pizza Dough; Cheese-Stuffed Pizza Crust; White Pizza; Three-Cheese Pizza; Homemade Italian Sausage Pizza; and S’Mores Pizza with Sweet Pizza Dough for dessert.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

7/12 (Thurs) 5:00-7:30pm – Kids Chocolate Workshop (NOTE: rescheduled from 7/11)

Who doesn’t love chocolate?  Kids will learn about cooking with chocolate and will make these scrumptious chocolate treats to try as well as to take some home to share (or not!).  On the menu: Chocolate Tuiles with Chocolate Crème Chantilly and Fruit; Chocolate and Orange Soufflés; Double Chocolate Cookies; and Chocolate-Covered Mint Patties.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

7/14 (Sa) 10a-1pm – Kids Summer Baking Workshop

Fun class for kids who love to bake.  We’ll heat up the kitchen so you don’t have to heat up yours.  This class will add to your kids’ baking repertoire with delicious new recipes and techniques for sweet and savory bakes.  Participants will make and bake the following dishes (and they will get to take some home to enjoy with friends and family).  On the menu:  Orange and Basil Galettes; Tomato and Bacon Turnovers; Cheddar and Chive Biscuits; Four Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes; Coconut and Candied Ginger Macaroons; and Cinnamon Buns.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $55.

7/19 (Thurs) 5:00-7:30pm – Kids Candy Workshop (NOTE: rescheduled from 7/18)

Kids will get to make these sweet treats to try and also to take some home to share (or not!): Chocolate Caramel Corn; Pastel Summer Mints; Marvelous Maple Fudge; White Chocolate and Coconut Bonbons; and Homemade Tootsie Rolls.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

8/8-9 (Wed-Thu) 10:00-1:00pm – International Islands Mini-Camp: Caribbean & Filipino Cuisines 

It’s like a culinary cruise around the Caribbean and beyond (without any risk of sea-sickness)!  Kids will get to try different delicious tropical Island dishes with exotic names and some new ingredients.  After the Caribbean, venture to the Philippines for different tropical and continental-inspired cuisine that’s from “the culinary crossroads of Chinese, Spanish and American foods.”  It’s so good you’ll “flip” over it!  Location: St. Mark’s.  Course Cost: $100.

Day One: Caribbean:  Menu:  Antiguan Cou Cou (polenta with okra); Trinidadian Pineapple Chow; Tobagonian Doubles (fried dough served with cucumber salsa); Grenadian Oil Down (coconut, chicken and dumpling stew); and Caribbean Coconut Toto (coconut cake).

Day Two: Filipino: Menu:  Pork Pancit (pork with vegetables and rice noodles); Filipino-style Spaghetti with homemade Banana Ketchup; Bola Bola (meatballs); Pandesol (Filipino bread rolls); and Sweet Avocado Ice.

8/13 (Mon) 5:00-7:30pm – Kids Polish Cuisine

Polish cuisine has been influenced by many other European cultures and has incorporated some the best of each, featuring many rich, lavish, delicious dishes.  In this class kids will prepare the following dishes to enjoy:  Potato Pirogi with Sour Cream and Chives; Zupa Ziemniaczana (Polish potato soup); Hand-made Kielbasa Sausage Patties; Stuffed Cabbage Leaves; and Cherry and Cheese Blintzes.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

8/14 (Tues) 5:00-7:30pm – Kids Korean Cuisine

Have you thought about Korean cuisine with both Koreas often in the news, since the Olympics?  Enjoy this Korean-inspired menu that is not only easy to prepare but is also Matissuhyo! (Delicious!)  Kids will prepare then dine on Chicken Bulgagi (Korean grilled chicken) with Korean Slaw and Bokkeumbap (Korean fried rice), and Hotteok (sweet Korean pancakes) for dessert.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

8/16 (Wed) 5:00-7:30pm – Kids Nigerian Cuisine

Nigerian cuisine contains dishes and food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise this West African country and features colorful and lavish dishes, with deeply flavored sauces and soups from the many native spices and herbs.  On the menu:  Nigerian Sausage Rolls (hand-mixed ground beef with nutmeg wrapped in fresh-made dough); Nigerian Egg Rolls (hard-boiled eggs wrapped in bread dough then fried); Jellof Rice (spiced rice with stewed tomatoes); Nni Oka (corn Fufu, which has a texture like mashed potatoes) served with Meatball Stew; and Nigerian Banana Cake for dessert.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.



  • All Camps are 4-day camps (M-Th).
  • AM Camps are 9am–12pm.
  • PM Camps are 1–4pm.
  • Kids ages 8-15 are welcome in both camps, but AM camps are geared more towards younger kids, While PM camps are geared more to older kids. Teens ages 13-17 are especially welcome in PM camps.
  • Location: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 605 Spruce St, Madison, WI 53715
  • Camp Cost: $235 per participant.
  • NOTE: All of our camps are nut-free.
6/11-14  (Mon-Thurs) – International Breads and Baking

In this intensive 4-Day Camp kids will learn to prepare a different baked meal for lunch each day and then will focus on making breads and other baked treats.  They will learn a variety of bread-making styles and techniques while preparing a wide variety of yeast and quick breads as well as cookies from around the world (and also closer to home).  No prerequisites required, but expect to be challenged!  Location: St. Mark’s.  Camp Cost: $235.

  • Monday:  Japanese Hokkaido Milk Loaf; Brazilian Cheese Bread; Venezuelan Arepa; Egyptian Saboob (Flatbread); and New England Joe Froggers.  For Lunch: Classic Macaroni and Cheese.
  • Tuesday:  Moroccan Khobz; Greek Pita; Irish Soda Bread; Chinese Scallion Flatbread; Indian Naan; and Nan-e Berenji (Persian Rice Cookies).  For Lunch: Cheese Pizza with Fresh Tomato Sauce.
  • Wednesday:  Indian Parathas; Iranian Barbari Bread; Lemon Thyme Madeleines; Ramazan Pidesi (Turkish Flatbread with Sesame Seeds); Orange Biscotti.  For Lunch: Baked Ziti.
  • Thursday:  Italian Focaccia; English Crumpets; Southern Cheddar and Chive Cornmeal Muffins; Flatbrød (Norwegian Flatbread); Jamaican Island Spiced Sugar Cookies.  For Lunch: Jamaican Baked Rice and Peas.
6/25-28  (Mon-Thurs) – Noodles!

Each day of this intensive 4-Day Camp participants will learn and practice unique noodle-making techniques, then use the noodles they make to prepare a variety of delicious savory dishes.  Egg-based Ramen Noodles start the week off as kids learn the basics of making that smooth and tender noodle dough.  Sophisticated Soba Noodles made of buckwheat follow, then Rice Noodles and finally classic Italian Pasta Dough.  (Note: This class is not gluten-free.)  No prerequisites required, but expect to be challenged!  Location: St. Mark’s.  Camp Cost: $235.

  • Monday: Ramen:  Slowly simmered broths with various classic toppings, including perfectly-cooked eggs. Also on the menu: Teriyaki Ramen Salad; Miso Ramen; Meatball Ramen with Sticky Orange and Soy Sauce.
  • Tuesday: Soba Noodles:  Soba Noodles with Sesame Sauce; Crispy Soba Noodle Pancakes with Barbecued Chicken and Vegetables; Summer Rolls with Salmon and Soba.
  • Wednesday: Rice Noodles:  Thai Rice Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli; Pad Thai; Cambodian Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Peas.
  • Thursday: Italian Pasta:  Buttered Egg Noodles; Three Cheese Ravioli; Spinach and Feta Ravioli; Marinara Sauce and Alfredo Sauce.
7/9-12 (Mon-Thurs) – American Culinary Adventure

This intensive 4-Day Camp will allow kids to hone their cooking skills while learning fun, new, delicious menus.  Participants will get to enjoy some classic regional favorites as well as twists on old stand-by’s.  The emphasis is on learning basic kitchen skills, including food safety and sanitation as well as knife skills, while preparing delicious food.  No prerequisites required, but expect to be challenged!  Location: St. Mark’s.  Camp Cost: $235.

  • Monday: Sautéed Vegetable Salad; Homemade Chicken Meatballs with Herbed Gravy and Cream Biscuits; Classic Kentucky Burgoo with Mashed Sweet and Russet Potatoes; Apple Tartlets with Caramel Sauce.
  • Tuesday:  Southern Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Dressing; Tortilla Soup with Crispy Tortilla Chips; Golden BBQ Chicken Strips; Hoppin’ John; Fruit “Shortcake” Roulade with Berries and Crème Chantilly.
  • Wednesday:  Potato and Sweet Corn Chowder; Beef, Cheddar and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches on Fresh Baked Round Bread with Sweet Red Pepper Mayonnaise; Fresh Rolled Pasta with Tomato Butter; Strawberry Mousse with Chocolate Cookies.
  • Thursday:  Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomato Sausage; Homemade Buttery Crescent Rolls; Carrot and Apple Slaw; Sweet and Russet Potato Cakes; Lemon Bars.
7/16-19  (Mon-Thurs) – International Street Foods

In this intensive 4-Day Camp kids will learn to make delicious popular street foods from around the world.  Street foods are often the tastiest and most popular fresh dishes from different cultures and highlight favorite local flavors and ingredients. This camp will give kids the chance to explore culinary offerings from 4 cultures with a wide range of delicious dishes while also learning/improving their culinary skills.  No prerequisites required, but expect to be challenged!  Location: St. Mark’s.  Camp Cost: $235.

  • Monday: Pakistani:  Chapli Kebabs (Spiced Beef Kebabs) with Naan; Crispy Onion Pakora (Onion Fritters) with Chutney Ketchup; Bun Kebab (Spiced Lentil and Egg Pattie); Aloo Kay Kababs (Potato Kebabs); Chicken Shawarma with Flatbread; Nankhatai (Buttery Cardamom Cookies).
  • Tuesday: South American:  Argentinian Empanadas with Chicken, Cheese and Spinach; Bolivian Trucha (Trout with Rice and Slaw); Peruvian Causa (Layered Mashed Potato and Vegetable Cakes); Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread); Carne en Palito (Meat on a Stick); Cinnamon Sugar Sopapillas.
  • Wednesday: Greek:  Chicken Souvlaki with Fresh Pita and Tzatziki Sauce; Tiropita (Feta Cheese Pies); Dolmades (Vegetable and Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves); Kolokithokeftedes (Greek Zucchini Fritters); Koulouria (Sesame and Honey Sweet Bread).
  • Thursday: Vietnamese:  Bánh Xèo (Crispy Crepe with Pork, Shrimp and Bean Sprouts); Goi Cuon (Fresh Vegetable and Rice Noodle Spring Rolls) with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce; Bánh Mì (Vietnamese French Bread Sandwich with Tofu or Pork and Quick Pickled Vegetables); Saigon Cinnamon Ginger Cookies.
8/13-16  (Mon-Thurs) – Techniques of French Cuisine

This intensive 4-Day Camp will allow kids to learn classic, fundamental French culinary techniques that will enable them to cook any food well.  They will hone their culinary skills and techniques while learning fun, new, delicious classic French recipes.  No prerequisites required, but expect to be challenged!  Location: St. Mark’s.  Camp Cost: $235.

  • Monday:  French Onion Soup Gratinée with Fresh Baked Baguettes; Chicken Roulade with Red Pepper, Basil and Citrus Boursin; Pommes Boulangère (French Potato and Onion Bake); Seasonal Vegetable Fricassee; White Chocolate Mousse Roulade with Mixed Berries.
  • Tuesday:  Tomato Bisque with Lemon Thyme Madeleines; Bifteck Haché (French-Style Ground Beef Patty with Onions and Thyme); Fougasse (French Flatbread with Olives and Herbs); Tartiflette (French Potato, Bacon, and Cheese Bake); Tarte Tatin with Cinnamon Crème Chantilly.
  • Wednesday:  Quiche Lorraine (made with Pate Brisee); Fish en Papillote with Fresh Rolled Pasta; Sautéed Ratatouille Salad; Crème Brulee with Petit Fours.
  • Thursday:  Tourin (French Garlic and Onion Soup) with Roasted Garlic Boule (French rolls); Spinach and Parmesan Soufflés; Boeuf aux Carottes (Beef Stew with Carrots); Chocolate and Strawberry Profiteroles.



Children’s classes are generally tailored for children ages 8-15, but older teens are also welcome in many classes and camps.  Younger children (ages 6-8) are welcome in Chef Joel’s Parent-Child Classes.  If you have any questions about whether classes are appropriate for your child, please contact Chef Joel.


Register by emailing Chef Joel at: hemmachef@gmail.com to reserve a spot.  Class sizes are limited.  Once you receive confirmation that space is available, please send a check made payable to Chef Joel Olson to P.O. Box 5643, Madison, WI  53705-5643.


Class costs are listed for each class.  Costs include recipe packets to take home and all foods, equipment, and materials necessary to complete the recipes.


Classes are held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 605 Spruce St., Madison, 53715.


For more information about Chef Joel click here or email: hemmachef@gmail.com

Also check us out – and Like us – on Facebook: Hemmachef and Cooking Classes in Madison[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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