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:

Fun, hands-on cooking classes for children and youth of all levels of ability, interest, and experience!  Chef Joel’s welcomes all kids who are interested in learning to cook or improve their cooking skills and develop their love of food and fellowship through fun, hands-on classes and workshops that focus on developing real culinary skills that will last a lifetime.  Kids do the cooking and all are challenged in Chef Joel’s classes!

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.


2/23 (Sat) — 9:30am-12:30pm — Kid’s Great British Baking Workshop

Are you a fan of Great British Baking? This class is for you! Kids will learn to bake some classic British favorites and enjoy tasting them. On the menu: Toad in the Hole (Pork sausages enveloped in a crispy batter); Fidget Pies (Ham and Cheese Hand Held Pies); Kentish Huffkin Rolls (Traditional Flatbread Roll with a Dimpled Top); Easy Buttery Shortbread Biscuits; and Chocolate Heavies. Location: St. Mark’s. Class Cost: $55.

2/23 (Sat) — 1:30-4:00 — Kids Sliders and Fries

Go way beyond the classic burger and fries! Learn to make delicious fries out of things besides potatoes and fantastic sliders with more than just beef. In this class kids will learn the basics of safely frying food and tips on how to “Oven Fry,” as well as how to make some great sliders. On the Menu: Chicken Parmesan Sliders; BBQ Pork Sliders; Cold Oil Cooked French Fries with Sweet Red Pepper Ketchup; “Oven Fried” Sweet Potato Sticks with Bacon Mayonnaise; and Crispy Zucchini Fries with Calypso Sauce. Location: St. Mark’s. Class Cost: $50.

2/25 (Mon) — 4:00-6:00pm — Kids Ramen Noodles

No packets of skinny noodles and pouches of MSG in this class. Learn to make the noodle dough from scratch, then roll, stretch and cut the dough into fresh noodles to be boiled and enjoyed with a variety of classic ramen ingredients. Participants will also learn to make the wonderful slow cooked broth, chicken broth and miso ramen as well as perfectly cooked eggs. Location: St. Mark’s. Class Cost: $45.

3/5 (Tues) –4:00-6:00pm – Kids Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday Party

Enjoy the exciting tastes of New Orleans at Mardi Gras!  Participants will learn to make and then get to enjoy delicious classic New Orleans dishes, including learning the technique to make a classic “roux” – which is the key to good Gumbo!  On the menu:  Zippy Pork Pattie Po’Boys (hand-made pork sausages fried until golden brown, served on French bread with Creole mayonnaise, shredded lettuce and tomatoes); Chicken  Gumbo (classic Cajun stew full of onions, bell peppers, celery and chicken); and scrumptious Praline Cookies (rich sugary cookies with pecans).  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $45.

3/16 (Sat) — 1:00-3:30pm – Kids Taco Truck

Who doesn’t love tacos?  They are fun to make, fun to eat and can contain any number of delicious ingredients.   (Not just for Beans and Rice any more!)  Teens will get to make and then enjoy these awesome tacos:  Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Tacos with Tomatoes and Mozzarella; Beef and Lime Tacos with Lettuce and Cheddar; Tempura Fish Tacos with Cabbage and Salsa Verde; and Homemade Taco Sauce.  Cinnamon Churros follow for dessert.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

3/18 (Mon) — 10:00-1:00pm – Kids International Breads  [NOTE: this class has been moved to 3/26 due to MMSC schedule changes]
3/18 (Mon) — 4:00-6:-0pm – Kids Great International Vegetarian Dishes  [Please note time change – due to MMSD schedule change]

These vegetarian recipes are so good they will make you forget that there’s no meat!  Participants will learn to make and then enjoy these delicious international vegetarian dishes:  Vegetable Tika Masala with Rice; Japanese Okonomiyaki (savory pancakes); Flamkuchen (Alsatian pizza).  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

3/23 (Sat) — 1:00-3:30pm – Kids Great British Brunch

Love watching the Great British Baking Show and other awesome BBC hits?  This class will make you feel like you’ve traveled to London for a delicious meal without leaving Madison!  On the menu: Home-made English Breakfast Sausages; Savory Baked Beans and Toast; Fluffy Scrambled Eggs the British way; and Cinnamon Sugar Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $50.

3/26 & 27 (Tues & Wed) — 9:30-12:30pm – Kids Down-Home Cooking Mini-Camp

Give the kids and yourself a break this Spring Break!  This mini-camp offers an opportunity for kids to learn useful cooking skills while preparing great meals that feature classic comfort foods and Southern specialties.

Class One:  Bacon, Shrimp and Cheddar Grits with Buttermilk Biscuits; Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler; Sour Cream and Peach Pie with Cinnamon Cream.

Class Two:  Catfish Fingers and Hush Puppies with Homemade Tartar Sauce; Country Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Collard Greens; Pecan Tassies.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $100.

3/26 & 27 (Tues & Wed) — 1:30-4:30 – Kids International Mini-Camp: Caribbean & Middle-Eastern

Give the kids and yourself a break this Spring Break!  This mini-camp offers a great way for kids to learn new, really useful skills and also enjoy great meals that incorporate new flavors and foods.  Kids will learn a myriad of Culinary Techniques as they prepare delicious meals in this two day Spring Break edition of International Foods Mini-Camp.

Class OneCarribean: Cou Cou (polenta with okra from Antigua); Pineapple Chow (Trinidadian soaked pineapple salsa); Doubles (two pieces of fried dough served with cucumber salsa from Tobagao); Oil Down (coconut, chicken and dumpling stew from Grenada); Coconut Toto (Caribbean coconut cake).

Class TwoMiddle Eastern: Lebanese Man’oushe with Za’atar Oil, Tomatoes, and Cucumber (flatbread); Herbed Falafel with Cucumbers and Yogurt; Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper and Saffron Rice; Tabouleh; Ghraybeh (Middle Eastern shortbread cookies)

Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $100.

3/26 (Tues) — 5:00-8:00pm – Kids International Breads

If your child loves baking and especially bread-making, this class is for them!  Participants will practice basic baking techniques–measuring, stirring, kneading, proofing and working with yeast.  Then they will prepare a variety of tasty breads of different types from different cultures/countries to enjoy in class, and they’ll get to take some home with them, too!  On the menu:  Indian Naan; Australian Damper; Qistibi from Tatarstan; Venezuelan Arepa; and Finnish Rieska (Rye Bread).  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $55.


BROWNIES:  Edible Experiments! (Home Scientist Badge)

4/6 (Sat) – 9-11am; 12-2pm; 3-5pm 

4/8 (Mon) – 4:30-6:30pm

JUNIORS:  Manners Matter! (Social Butterfly Badge) 

4/13 (Sat) – 9-11am; 12-2pm; 3-5pm 

4/15 (Mon) – 4:30-6:30pm

CADETTES:  You Are What You Eat! (“Eating for Beauty” Badge)

4/7 (Sun) – 1-3pm 

4/14 (Sun) – 1-3pm 


Chef Joel will be offering summer camps the following weeks this summer:

6/17-20 – Techniques of French Cuisine  (AM/PM)
6/24-27 – International Baking and Breads  (AM/PM)
7/15-18 – International Street Foods  (AM/PM)
7/29-8/1 – Noodles!  (AM/PM)
8/5-8/8 – Mastering World Cuisines  (AM/PM)
8/12-15 – Mastering French Techniques  (AM/PM)




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: 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:

Also check us out – and Like us – on Facebook: Hemmachef and Cooking Classes in Madison

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