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Junior Chef FAQ

For Parents
How do I know if my child is eligible?

Currently, Junior Chef has two streams of programs. Our FUNDAMENTALS classes are open to youth 12-18 yrs of age WITHOUT any formal diagnosis of mental health concerns and our CULINARY CLASSICS & LIFE SKILLS program only accepts students aged 12-24 years of age who have applied and been approved to participate during a free Discovery Call. This program is run by a social worker or CYW and cook/chef and is specifically for youth experiencing depression, anxiety, Autism, ADD/ADHD, learning difficulties, bullying, family concerns,  LGBTQ2S+, and/or wanting to recover from an eating disorder.

How do I know if my child is NOT eligible?

Once you have had your free Discovery Call with our staff we will let you know and discuss why your teen may not be accepted. Since this program takes place in a real commercial kitchen and safety is paramount, we do not accept youth who have active psychotic symptoms, have been admitted to hospital for psychiatric concerns within the past 3 months, are self harming or have behaviour problems that may put others at risk. We will not tolerate any hate, racism or discrimination in our programs.


Are these sessions covered by OHIP?

No, but they are covered by most extended health care benefit plans and if your child is eligible for Autism funding they may also qualify for these programs to be covered. Pam is a Registered Social Worker (Reg #800955) and we also have Child & Youth Worker staff. It is the responsibility of the parent to determine with their provider what their coverage entitles them to as we do not offer direct submissions of billings for your reimbursement at this time. We will give you a receipt that you can submit to your supplier.

Does my teen need to bring anything?

You will need to purchase a Junior Chef Starter Kit when they begin which they will receive on their first day of class.  We provide them with their apron each week and they get to keep their hat and t-shirt that must be worn during each class. We will have all of the culinary tools that they will need to cook, but if your child has any special needs that need accommodation we would appreciate you letting us know during your free Discovery Call.  All they need to bring is a positive and open attitude!

Do you have a sliding scale or reduced fees if I cannot afford the cost?

Yes! We now offer a limited number of youth bursaries with the support of United Way of Guelph Wellington and our new Not for Profit agency Fanjoy Cooking Up Change™.  These bursaries are intended for families who do not receive other funding for their child’s extra curricular activities and need some help with fees. We do ask that parents contribute what they can, financially and/or by volunteering at our agency. When families apply and take only what is needed, we are able to put more children through our programs so everyone has the opportunity to learn to cook! 

For Students
What if I have never cooked before?

No problem! We teach teens and young adults of all skill levels so if you are just beginning our Culinary Fundamentals course is perfect for you. If you are more experienced, you will move up quickly to our Culinary Classics Program to learn more advanced dishes & begin butchery lessons too. You will learn a wide variety of cooking skills, no matter where you start. Sample menus can be found on in each category.  

Will there be other people my age there?

We offer many classes and depending on the registration numbers youth starting in Culinary Fundamentals are generally in Grades 7-11. Older teens in grades 11-12 are generally are moved into our more advanced classes or may qualify to participate in our Culinary Classics & Life Skills Programs


Will I get to choose what we cook?

We generally have chosen our menus ahead of time so that we can teach you how to cook what is currently in season because it is the freshest then and also allows us to give back to our local farmers by supporting their businesses. As you complete the Culinary Fundamentals course (8 weeks) and move into our Culinary Classics series, we do invite more input from students and may shift recipes on our regular agenda from time to time to meet the ‘wish list’ student agree on as a group.  Sushi and Pho Bowls have been two of the most often add ons around.  

If you have other questions, please contact us.

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