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A winning recipe

Students in the Way-Cool Cooking School made homemade bruschetta during last Wednesday's class with instructor Mary Matthews.1 / 2
Students in the Way-Cool Cooking School feasted on a lunch of pizza, bruschetta, Italian wedding soup, chocolate gelato and lemonade last Wednesday.2 / 2

Children can often be found playing restaurant in their basements, but over at Kowalski's Markets in Woodbury, they're getting a taste of the real thing.

This summer, Kowalski's will be the site of a kids cooking class, taught by Way-Cool Cooking School.

Way-Cool Cooking School is a four-day long summer camp, in the morning and afternoon where children ages 3 to 18 prepare an assortment of dishes.

This is the first summer Way-Cool Cooking School has been in Woodbury. Classes began June 2 and run through early September.

Each week has a theme and all of the dishes center around that.

Last week, the morning theme was "passion for pasta" and the afternoon theme was "delicious desserts."

"I could not have more fun doing what I'm doing," said class instructor Mary Matthews. "The importance of getting kids in the kitchen and teaching them the fundamentals is something they'll carry with them their entire lives."

Some of the upcoming themes include international cuisine, food from around the United States, chocolate lovers and cooking for rock stars.

Lynn Elliot started Way-Cool Cooking School seven years ago, at the Eden Prairie Kowalski's, after her daughter wanted to take a cooking class.

"I couldn't find a kids cooking class anywhere," Elliot said. "So, I thought that maybe there would be a niche for teaching kids to cook."

The program also offers adult classes, birthday parties and corporate team building classes.

Way-Cool Cooking School teaches its students everything from proper kitchen procedures to reading of recipes and food labels to learning good nutrition.

Elliot said the importance of children learning to cook stems from teaching them independence.

"When they can cook in the kitchen by themselves they are so proud," she said.

Additionally, cooking also helps children with their math skills, primarily fractions, she added.

"It all seems to kind of make sense with cooking," Elliot said.

In addition to teaching the students how to cook, Way-Cool Cooking School also teaches about kitchen safety, food safety, and how to keep a kitchen tidy.

"There's lot of messes in the kitchen, but from that you learn," Elliot said.

Since some of the dishes that the students make in the classes may not be familiar, Elliot said they ask that students at least try two bites.

"If kids actually help make the food, they are more likely to eat it," she said. "There's some mystery sometimes if kids do not understand what's always in there."

Elliot said her Way-Cool Cooking School classes have been a success among the students.

"They like the creativity in a lot of the dishes," she said.

For more information on Way-Cool Cooking School, or to register for classes, visit

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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