by Heather Thompson
Tiffany Crowther, owner of The Cooking Station, grew up in Tennessee, but her parents were originally from Kansas City and just after her high school graduation the family moved back here. Tiffany went on to Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg to study criminal justice, where she also met her husband.
After getting married, they quickly started a family, having three kids within just a few years. Tiffany felt very lucky to be a stay-at-home mom with her children, but once they got older, she felt as though she couldn’t get back into the criminal justice areas she wanted to.
Between different roles within insurance adjustment and working with her parents to run their flea market in Independence she was always baking and bringing treats to share with everyone. Many people would remind her what a talent she had, and that she should really open a shop, but she was scared to make that a full-time role on her own.
“My kids loved watching kids cooking competitions and were determined to cook and bake often,” said Tiffany. “But that makes for a lot of work and cleaning in my home kitchen.” The idea got her mind working in how could she combine all of these ideas into a productive business. She loved baking for others and her kids loved baking for fun, so why not allow a win-win for kids to learn cooking and their families enjoy what they make.
“We did a lot of praying and mulling, and decided to take one huge leap off a cliff in hopes that I can land.” The space now known as The Cooking Station off 50 Hwy and Blue Parkway used to be a Chinese restaurant, so the basic set-up was there and ready for cooking. What was the dining area, now works well for prepping area stations. In January of 2018, The Cooking Station officially opened for business.
Crowther’s three kiddos, Breckyn (12), Karsyn (11), and Paxsen (9) are always eager students ““ but, of course, it is more fun and beneficial to the business to open the classes to the Lee’s Summit community. There are a variety of classes and camps offered. Some are for younger kids and parents together, some focus on a full family meal, and others for older kids to cook and bake on their own.
Parents can choose to stay and watch or let Tiffany handle it all. She will guide the kids through each step of the process, let them make a mess in her kitchen, and then do all the clean up! It’s a win for the parents and the kids.
My boys (9 and 12) took one class of the four-day Baking Boot Camp classes offered this summer. The boys were hesitant to get there and get involved, but not even halfway through the class they were both enjoying themselves. Chocolate zucchini bread and pumpkin bread with icing were the menu items for baking that day. There are new items planned each day ““ from cinnamon rolls and pizza dough, to cookies and breads.
Simple steps make all the cooking easy, even for children as young as six years old. Tiffany pulls all the ingredients needed for one recipe at a time while the kids get themselves ready at a station. Along with ingredients are the appropriate measuring cups. Everyone has to pay attention to what the amounts are and ensure they are reaching for the right ingredients.
Between recipes here is a little waiting time for cleanup and preparation for the next item, so the kids choose games to play on the dry erase board. This week’s favorite: Hangman.
Learning to read a recipe is key. Once you understand that ““ you can make anything! Some of the measurements can be tricky for kids to realize, but Tiffany is there to help along the way and answer questions. Once the baking is done, of course it is encouraged to try what you make. Not required, but certainly encouraged because you may be surprised at what you like. One of my boys was at least willing to try everything he made and he was shocked how much he liked the pumpkin bread.
Whether your kids are aspiring chefs, or just think they want to try out what they see on cooking shows, The Cooking Station offers a great setup for them to test the waters in someone else’s safe kitchen. Learn more and check out their online schedule of upcoming events and classes at thecookingstation.com.