Kids, cooking and becoming an entrepreneur – My Journey

Florence Rebattet - En Cuisine Cooking School

Moving from office employment to entrepreneurship

Moving from an office job with a good and fixed salary, a bonus, pension, healthcare and a car to jump into the entrepreneurial world is quite scary, to be honest.

I had no guarantee that it would work. The only things I was sure about was that I love cooking, I love working with kids and my past experience as a gymnast competing at a high level in France trained me to fail and rebuild myself each time I didn’t reach the podium. I am also from a family where I have seen my grandpa and dad being entrepreneurs. I have seen them successful but also seen them making mistakes and finding solutions to keep paying the employees and keep the company alive.

I knew that it would be a hard and far-from-relaxing journey but I was motivated. I wanted to give a purpose to my life and maybe make less money than in my office job but be happy to go to work every day. Not many people have the courage to give up a comfortable life, question everything and restart from scratch to pursue their dreams. I am someone who doesn’t want to have regrets in life, so I like jumping into new challenges. This is also why I did the TV show with Gordon Ramsay. What were the chances of my being spotted by him and his team and competing for his investment? Opportunities like that don’t come along that often in life. You have to take them when they are in front of you.

Florence Rebattet - En Cuisine Cooking SchoolTurning a passion into a business

Turning my passion into a business has been a daily challenge. Being a cook at home for your family and friends is easy. Turning that into a business is a different thing entirely. I had to study English law for food and safety regulations but also to manage children and open a business with children. I had to train to become a chef, I had to improve my English and I had to fail. A lot. But the results were there. I could see the children happy after cooking with me, taking some tips away from the classes and discovering new things.

Why you should let children use knives, hobs and ovens

When you know how to prepare food without lots of gadgets in your kitchen, you have a good chance of building good eating habits. Even if the parents are scared of knives, they have to teach to their children how to use them. This is the first step on the way to them becoming independent in life and not relying on ready meals full of preservatives and salt.

It’s the same with the ovens and hobs. If you don’t teach them or, worse, if you scare your children about these essentials cooking tools, how do expect them to learn to eat healthily. I see parents complaining about their teenagers eating junk food and not being able to cook a fried egg. When you talk to them you realise very quickly that the kids have never been in the kitchen – other than to make cakes, because it is easy and safe to mix a batter and crack eggs than learn how to cut and cook vegetables, meat and fish.

The importance of involving children in the kitchen 

After almost a decade working with food and children, I really see the difference between the children who have been involved in the food preparation at home and the ones who didn’t have the chance for whatever reasons. They are not scared to fail and do not apologise if they can’t execute a recipe without help. I always say to the children: “You are here for learning. It doesn’t matter if an egg goes on the floor, next time you will remember that the egg rolls, so you won’t put it that close to the edge of the table. If you get a little splash on your arm from the sauce that you are cooking, now you know that the heat was too high, and you need to lower it to simmer your sauce. And the most important thing, we are all failing in kitchen. I am 40, have 10 years of experience cooking with children and I still fail some recipes. I am still learning myself at home before I teach you a recipe. So don’t panic if you mess up. Enjoy the learning process and have fun!”

Take the pressure off

The last thing I would say to parents is to remove the pressure of cooking with the kids. Instead of cooking for the purpose of sending photos on the family WhatsApp chat group, just spend time with your children. Create memories with them without your phone, even if it is tempting to do it. I do the same with my son, don’t get me wrong, but I know, ultimately, I always had in mind that I wanted him to learn something by cooking with me. I wanted to share a quality time with him and let him become independent in the kitchen.

About the author

Florence Rebattet founded En Cuisine Cooking School in 2014. Passionate about food and cooking since her childhood, Florence decided to build her own cooking school designed for children and teenagers. For her, it is fundamental to see the new generations cooking from scratch with seasonal ingredients. In 2023, Florence proudly, became, a Disciple d’Escoffier in London, and reached the semi-finals of Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars on BBC1 (season 2). Full of energy, Florence has a unique style of teaching which children find as irresistible as the food they make.

Instagram: @encuisinecookingschool

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