Inquiring Chef Academy

Cooking Camps in Kansas City

Cook with Us!

Does your child love helping in the kitchen or are they ready to learn more? At Inquiring Chef Academy, kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade gain hands-on cooking experience and build confidence in the kitchen.

No matter their age or prior experience, all of our campers learn the fundamentals of cooking and baking, craft ways to present their creations, play plenty of fun games, and work in small groups to prepare a variety of recipes.

Summer 2024 camps are open for registration! Camps will be held at HJ’s Youth & Community Center and Second Presbyterian Church in Brookside. Check out our calendar below for available dates.

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If a camp is sold out, contact us at to be added to the waitlist

Thank you to our sponsors!

Meet Jess

All of our camps are taught by Jess Smith alongside a team of staff and counselors. Jess has been cooking professionally for 15 years. She served as the Chief Recipe Developer at Cook Smarts and has been featured in Raddish KidsParadeHallmarkHonest CookingLivestrongSelfYahooNBCHuffPost, and She Knows

Jess has a Masters’ Degree in Education Policy and spent the early part of her career working in education. She is a proud mom to Molly and Clara (age 10) and June (age 5) who attend Academie Lafayette.

You can find Jess most days of the week sharing vegetable-forward recipes on Instagram. Her first cookbook, Start with a Vegetable, will be released in the fall of 2024.


Contact Jess and the team at


Where is camp?

Camps are held at two beautiful locations in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City. Day camps are scheduled at HJ’s Youth and Community Center (6425 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64113). Summer camps are scheduled at Westminster Hall at Second Presbyterian Church (318 E. 55th St. Kansas City, MO 64113).

What if I have a picky eater?

We believe that food phases and preferences are a natural part of growing up. We are a zero-pressure environment and never pressure any of our campers to taste something they’re not ready to try. If your child is in a picky eating phase, they will still have fun learning new skills, handling and preparing a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, and making new friends.

All of our snacks and meals are served family-style or buffet-style (both great ways to practice manners too!) so that our campers can serve themselves and have plenty of choices.

(We do usually find that being around new foods in a supportive, fun environment encourages kids to be more adventurous during camp and after!)

What is the class / camp size?

Depending on the style of camp and activities planned, each camp has 20-25 kids. We aim for a ratio of 5:1 campers to staff.

Do you offer extended hours?

At this time we do not offer extended hours. We know that many working parents are looking for camps that start earlier and extend later, so we are brainstorming ways to make this available.

What does the cost include?

The cost of all culinary camps include everything your child will need while they are with us: snacks, lunches, and treats for the kids to bring home to share. All they need to bring each day is themselves!

Weekly Camps: Our weekly camps also include a cookbook that your child will design and decorate throughout the week and bring home so they can recreate their recipes after camp is over.

What if my child has an allergy?

Please note it in your registration form. If it is a severe allergy please reach out at before registering so we can discuss if it is possible for us to offer a safe environment.

We often cook with flour, eggs, and dairy. We do not the ability to provide a gluten-free option at this time. All of our camps are nut-free, but we cannot guarantee that the spaces we use have not been exposed to potential allergens like nuts.

Do you offer scholarships?

If the cost of camp is prohibitive, contact Jess directly at We have scholarships available and do our best to make it possible for every child to attend.

Apply to be a Camp Counselor!

Camp is run by an enthusiastic team of counselors and staff. All counselors and staff are trained and complete a background check. If you are or know of someone who would be interested in working with Jess this summer, please see here for more information.