Yearly Archives: 2012

Its the time of year for food festivities! What better season than the holidays to hone your cooking skills, find some food inspiration and encourage your kids to help in the kitchen? Learn to cook for your family and gift treats to loved ones at ourDecember Open House! Join us in an afternoon of hands-on activities ranging from healthy recipe demos to face painting, from cookie decorating to chocolate tasting, all for FREE!  Learn about upcoming YUM Chefs classes and culinary camps and score some tasty treats.  Please see event schedule above, however, don’t feel obligated to commit to the entire five hours! (We promise you’ll have a great time if you do!)  If you are interested in helping out, please e-mail

We have been baking with pumpkin all month long in celebration of Halloween.   Cooking with pumpkins allows us to use the whole vegetable, a theme that YUM Chefs strives to emphasize in all cooking classes.  Using as much of the ingredient helps us reduce waste, save money, as well as bring us more nutrients!

Don't throw away those pumpkin seeds!  Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only a sinch to prepare, but are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals.  One quarter cup serving of pumpkin seeds is 52 percent of the daily value for manganese, necessary for bone development and metabolism - so great for your fast growing children!  Pumpkin seeds also provide nearly 30% of your daily recommended dose of iron.  To prepare this tasty and nutritious snack, remove as much pumpkin flesh from the seeds as you can (no need to rinse however), toss with a little olive oil, salt and any spice you'd like!  Sesame oil, cayenne, cumin, and paprika are all yummy flavors to add!

Pumpkin flesh can be used in many sweet and savory applications.  Diced roasted pumpkin is a fantastic addition to coconut curries, and roasted pumpkin can be pureed to use in soups, muffins, and of course, pumpkin pie.  This orange wonder food is packed with Vitamin A, needed for healthy vision, bone growth, and immune system regulation.  Pumpkin also contains C and B Vitamins.  We have been mixing up some fantastic simple pumpkin muffins from smitten kitchen's website.  You can check out the recipe here.  Children as young as 4 can make these muffins - and so can you!

November and December cooking classes are going to be amazing!  With the holidays just around the corner, you'll be so thankful you signed your child up for the after school classes.  I'll be sure to train you the most helpful  sous chef to help you peel, chop and bake your way to your best Thanksgiving feast yet.  Just hop on over to the "Offerings" page.  You'll find all the information you need to get your child signed up.

Happy Halloween!

YUM Fest was such an amazing time.


We had a blast eatin’ pie, listening to great local music, and mingling with like minded foodies looking to make a difference.  With the help of generous local businesses and community support, we were able to raise enough money to provide two month's worth of weekly free cooking classes for low income children.  That's nine afternoons where children learn, hands-on, how to cook seasonally, with love, and nutritionally.  We are so grateful to have the ability to give this experience to children.

We couldn’t have done it without the support of the following generous local businesses:

21st Amendment Brewery

4505 Meats

Almanac Brewery

Batter Bakery

Bi-Rite Market

Butterlove Bakeshop

Dandelion Chocolate

Il Cane Rosso

Jasper’s Corner Tap House and Grill

Lotta’s Bakery


Mission Cheese

Rainbow Grocery Cooperative

Robert Mondavi Winery

Square Meals

Straus Family Creamery


Thirsty Bear Brewery

Three Babes Bakeshop

Trader Joes SoMa

Whole Foods Market Noe Valley


A huge thank you to the volunteers who helped make the evening run oh so smoothly:





A special thank you Meredith at for allowing us to use their amazing event space.

But the party doesn't stop at YUM Fest - we're gonna keep cookin' and having a blast in the kitchen.  Stay tuned for upcoming adult classes and festive holiday classes for kids.  Think holiday ice cream workshops, gingerbread houses, and cookie bake-offs!




Come to YUM Fest, a foodie fundraiser benefiting low income youth in San Francisco! With every ticket sold, one child will have the chance to attend a free hands-on cooking class through YUM Chefs. Celebrate this opportunity with an all-American menu featuring sweet and savory pies. Sip on local Almanac beer while listening to the Beardo Brothers, Kif Bender, and Mad Noise LIVE from the Wix Lounge beer garden. In between sips and nibbles, we've put together amazing silent auction packages featuring local food entrepreneurs like Dandelion Chocolate, Tacolicious, Bi-Rite, 21st Amendment Brewery and Robert Mondavi winery. We are raffling off TWO private cooking classes: a pie workshop led by Chef Leah Brooks for those looking to indulge and a vegetarian cooking class led by Chef Kyra Bramble for those looking to incorporate new recipes into a healthy lifestyle. You could even win both! With your help, YUM Chefs will be able to offer cooking classes for ALL kids. Doesn't every child deserve to know what good food is all about?

We are raffling off TWO private cooking classes.  See below for chef bios!

Leah Brooks Pie Workshop - looking to indulge?  Chef Leah will teach you how to create sweet and savory pies for every palate!

Chef Leah Brooks hails from Seattle where she graduated from culinary school and spent many years at some of the Pacific Northwest's most celebrated restaurants. After spending some time assisting her former chef teaching children's cooking classes, she knew she no longer wanted to cook at fine dining restaurants... she wanted to be in the classroom with kids. Leah was drawn to the Bay Area for it's cornucopia of fresh ingredients and the edible education movement that originates here. Most recently she has worked with Sprouts Cooking Club, a non-profit that teaches children from all socio-economic backgrounds how to cook healthy foods hands-on.  She is happy to teach aspiring chefs of all ages.

Vegetarian and Vegan Cuisine by Kyra Bramble - learn healthy recipes that don't sacrifice flavor!

Chef Kyra Bramble has been cooking since she was a little girl, but first realized that she wanted to share her love during a trip to Italy when she was eighteen. There she saw that food wasn't only a pleasurable means of survival, but also a celebration of life and community. She has worked in restaurants (both front and back of house) for ten years, and graduated with honors from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 2007. She is also a travel writer and has traveled through Southeast Asia, Europe, and Central America, volunteering on organic farms, taking cooking classes, and soaking up knowledge of regional cuisines. She began teaching cooking classes with Cooking Matters! in 2010, and in 2011 with Sprouts Cooking Club, where she led a successful vegetarian improvisational class (cooking for 30+ people weekly with a CSA box and no recipes!). She is passionate about rich, flavorful, and healthy cooking techniques, and enjoys blending together flavors from all over the world. She specializes in vegetarian and vegan cuisines. She is happy to teach adults or children.

You can pre-order raffle tickets when you buy your tickets (how convenient!) or you can wait until the day of the event.  Raffle tickets are $5 each, and you can purchase as many as you'd like!





They lined up behind Chef Leah on the garden-facing porch, six children eager for the day’s lesson in the kitchen. Bouncing past the bar stools, the children filed up at the sink first thing, ready to suds up, wash off the garden and claim seats at the kitchen counter.

Kent and I looked from the kids to each other, clearly impressed. Kent Schoberle of San Francisco’s 4505 Meats came prepared with a whole chicken, the head and feet cut off but stashed in a separate container, and crepinette, a thin membrane with spider-web looking fat that surrounds the pig’s organs. It’s technically called caul fat, but I prefer the term lace fat and Kent proudly pronounced it his “web of flavor.”

Kent began class by butchering the chicken, describing how he held the knife with one edge against the bone, periodically holding up parts to display his expert cuts.

The oldest girls, aged 10 and 11, sliced the chicken breasts into strips while the younger kids, one as small as 4, chopped dried apricots and green onions. Having been in Chef Leah’s class before, they’d already graduated from butter knives to serrated steak knives.

As they prepped, Kent chronicled the life of pasture-raised chickens, using an overturned bowl to demonstrate how their dome-shaped coop is rotated around the pasture to provide fresh grass each day.  The kids watched rapt, some losing interest in the mounds on their cutting boards. They can be surprisingly quiet when absorbing new information, and then the excitement bubbles up in them, realizing the connections between one thing and another and they’re off telling stories and laughing like squawking hens.

Their curiosity billows up like a wind, almost overwhelming as Kent tries to keep up with their questions. I don’t know where it starts, but the children begin to chant “We want to see the brains!” until all but the two older girls have joined in. “I don’t think we can see the brains, but do you want to see the head?” They squeal with delight and Kent proudly displays the goods, the head and feet still intact from the now-decimated chicken.

“They have claws!” the kids shrieked, not scared but clearly surprised that something so tame as a chicken might have its own defenses. Kent scratched the feet on the cutting board in imitation of a live chicken’s strut. He was animated and energetic as he wove the story of the chicken, complete from its life on the farm to its segmented form on his cutting board.

Leah helped her young chefs brave the meat grinder. They took turns, some overcoming anxiety, shock or even disgust as they watched the grinder transform cut meat into ground. I'm proud to say "Ewww," is never heard in Leah's kitchen. It's a dirty word in a place where children are taught that the process of food is never gross.

Next they mixed the sausage meat with the apricots, green onions and tarragon, seasoned the sausage and forming it into small patties. While some students were reluctant to wrap their portions in the crepinette, almost all agreed during the ensuing taste test that the flavors popped when cooked in the “web of flavor.” They were yummier!

With the added fat and flavor, the chicken sausages in crepinette still tasted far from heavy. In fact, it was some of the lightest, most delicate sausage I’ve ever consumed, the dried apricot providing a welcoming tart note. Leah and I declared them delectable and ate the leftovers with Dijon mustard. Kent worried they were undersalted, but the kid's palates didn't require it.

I loved watching the children cook creatively and eat their own delicious results, but I think the real marvel, that mote of a miracle floating around every classroom, is spawning excitement for discovery. As Kent says on his blog, it’s about knowing the story behind your food.  To teach that story, we have to learn it ourselves first. 4505 Meat’s food philosophy begins “we believe the world can change.” It goes on to talk about building community by supporting local farmers and by caring about the way we feed ourselves, but just that, believing that the world can change, is really where it all begins.

Near the end of class, one of Leah’s students asked me why I was there. I was snapping pictures and helping with kitchen chores, but really I was just there to watch the lesson unfold. “I’m learning, too,” I said.

In Leah’s kitchen, I have the opportunity to watch the world change, to feel like a child among the children and experience the world as a growing thing. The children and Kent clucking in the background, I see the world shrink until I can envision the chicken we’re eating, the color of its feathers and the dirt it claws and the chicken wire between it and the sky. It tastes so good knowing where our food comes from, we become eager, like the meat-loving men at 4505, like Leah bringing us all to the table, to share the story.

Hello from the YUM Chefs Kitchen!

We've been really enjoying all the fruit the Bay Area has been offering us this summer.

We hope you have made at least one pie this summer.  If you haven't, here is some inspiration.

We have made so many yummy recipes and had so many laughs, I don't have enough room to list them all.  Some of the highlights so far from the camp:

Laurie Ellen from Tartine Bakery showing us how to make shortbread (like sweet buscuits!)

Kent from 4505 meats telling us the story of a life of a happy pasture raised chicken (and the kids giggling over the head and feet).

Our homemade sausages that Kent showed us how to make. (stay tuned... recipes to come!)

Dandelion Chocolate.  Cookie Dough Truffles and Fudgsicles.  Need I say more?

All these delicious recipes wouldn't have been possible without the generousity of Straus Family Creamery.  They have provided ALL of the dairy for the entire summer.  Now that's worth shouting about!  If you have never experienced a pie with Straus's cultured butter, you really need to get out there and get some.  Or topped said pie with lightly sweetened Straus Family Creamery whipped cream.  With a glass of cold Straus Family Creamery milk.  Can you tell I am in love with Straus Family Creamery?  I really am.

It was important to me for the kids to cook with the best ingredients this summer.  Not only is Straus Family Creamery the best dairy in the Bay Area, but they give back to the community and are committed to sustainability.  Learn where you can buy Straus Family Creamery products here: 

We are taking a two week break from summer camps, but come July 30th, we'll start back up with a SOLD out fourth session.  There are a couple spaces left in Session 5, so if you are interested, please contact me at  Special guests include Laurie Ellen from Tartine Bakery, Kent from 4505 meats, Dandelion Chocolate, Gregg from Pizzaiolo, and, of course, me, Leah Brooks, your child's guide to all things delicious.  We'll leave you with a little something to drool over.  See you in two weeks!  Here is a recipe for Blackberry Pie from my dear friend Lisa, who helped us out in the kitchen from time to time!  More yummy recipes from Burnt Sugar can be found here:

Blackberry Pie
A Burnt Sugar Recipe

This pie is actually based on the blueberry pie that appeared in Cook’s Illustrated July/August 2008 issue and which I read about on The Bitten Word. Turns out it works wonderfully for blackberry pies, too. Apples naturally contain pectin, and produce a well-jelled pie filling. This is also fantastic substituting cubed peaches and plums for half the blackberries. For the crust, I made Smitten Kitchen’s All Butter Crust and then followed latticing directionshere.

6 cups fresh blackberries
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
¾ cup sugar
zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
pinch table salt
2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground (or 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch as substitute)
1 tablespoon butter, diced (we used Straus Family Creamery unsalted butter - and the results were fabulous)
about 2 tablespoons Straus Family Creamery heavy cream, for brushing
Turbinado sugar (optional garnish)

Prepare preferred pie dough. Line pyrex pan with 12 inch circle of dough, crimp and refrigerate while preparing filling. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack and heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat.  Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry.  Transfer apple to large bowl.  Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine.  Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate, top with latticed dough strips and scatter butter pieces over filling.

If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes. Brush top and edges of pie with cream and optionally sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

Place pie on heating baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juice bubbles and crust is deep golden brown, about 45 minutes longer.  Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours recommended.  Cut into wedges and serve

There is something about Saturday mornings at the Farmer's Market that brings me so much joy.  I was so thrilled to get the chance to share with your kids my excitement for the Noe Valley Farmer's Market.  The sun came out for our edible adventure, and we were so lucky to have two vendors who talked with us about their specialties.


We first visited Snyder's Honey where we learned all about the amazing things that bees create.  We learned how you can make many things from honeycomb, using the wax to make candles and lip balm and of course, the honey!  We tasted many different kinds of honey, and learned that the flowers that are in season are the reason for the difference in flavor.  We also learned that bee pollen and propolis, two things that bees make, are used to boost your immune system and have antiseptic qualities.

We made a quick stop to visit our friend Elizabeth, the market manager, to see how early she had to get up in order to get the market up and running.  She said that she wakes up at 5:00AM in order to make sure that all the farmers and vendors know where to set up their booth, and to make sure that everyone is ready to go at 8:00AM when the market opens.  We sure appreciate Elizabeth for organizing the market!  Elizabeth says one of her favorite things about the market is that you get to taste everything before you buy it!

Happy Boy farms was next on the list, to check out what's in season.  Our guide to seasonal fruits and veggies gave us samples of little gem lettuce, romaine hearts, sugar snap peas, and even edible flowers.  While not all the kiddos were into the peppery flowers, it was fun to taste something new.  An interesting fact we found out was that bunnies don't really like eating carrots, but rather the carrot tops!  Who knew!?

At last, it was time to devise a plan for what to buy and cook.  The kids paired up and decided what they wanted to make and what they needed to buy at the market.  In two groups, we shopped the market.  The kids picked out the best fruits and veggies, and of course tasted their way through the market.  In the shopping bags once we got back to the kitchen were blueberries, tomatoes, parsley, spring onions, green beans, plums, strawberries, carrots, and honey to name a few.  One thing is certain, everyone had lots of colors to share!

Once back in the kitchen, we didn't waste any time.  Kids peeled, diced, mixed, seasoned, and simmered away.  One team grilled onions to go alongside their green salad and pizzas, another team created triple decker mozzerella honey and apricot sandwiches, while another team decided to make two salads: a fruit and a veggie.  New potatoes were cooked to go inside a veggie salad, which I thought was a creative addition.  Once all the salads were dressed, pizzas were cooked, soup was simmered, the kids presented their creations for the lucky parents to sample.  And what a spread it was!

I can't wait to see what other delicious creations the kids will come up with in July!  To sign up, please fill out the application form by clicking the link below!  Just a friendly reminder, all payments and registration forms must be submitted by June 21st!

Farmer's Market Registration Form


We are excited to announce that Leah's Kitchen is now called Young Urban Modern Chefs (YUM Chefs!).  In these modern times when there are so many processed, ready to eat, and unhealthy foods so available and marketed to young people, it's easy to forget the important act of feeding ourselves and our loved ones healthy wholesome foods.  It's time to take a step back and spend a little more time out of the day to put quality food into our bodies.  As the saying goes, you are what you eat!  Here at YUM chefs, we start with whole ingredients that are sourced from local farms, and we learn traditional recipes, with a healthy modern twist.  Being in the Mission District of San Francisco, some of the best local food in the country is right at our fingertips.  Whether you are interested in children's classes, adult classes, or family classes, we have all the tools you need to get you cookin'!  Please see below for our classes that are open right now!

Farmers Market Classes

Next Class: June 2nd from 10AM-1:45PM

Every first Saturday of the month, children have the opportunity to explore the rainbow of food at the Noe Valley Farmers Market. Each class will feature two farms or vendors so we can find out what's fresh and in season, and the class ends up in the kitchen for an improvisational cooking class. We provide the basic pantry, you bring $5 cash for your child to shop the market, and your budding chef brings their creativity! Its a win win situation because the end of the class is reserved for parents to sample their child's creations!

Price: $30*

Plus $5 spending cash for market shopping.

Time: 10:00AM-1:30PM (1:30-1:45 for parent sampling of creations!)

Meeting Dates: June 2nd, July 7th, August 4th, September 1st, and October 6th.

Age: For children 7-13

*Discounts available for KMS students

Register Here

Kids Summer Cooking Camps

Get out of the heat of the summer and into the heat of the kitchen! Kids will learn to cook, hands on, alongside Chef Leah Brooks. As always, your young chef will cook with local seasonal ingredients and even learn some tricks of the trade from a baker from Tartine Bakery, pizza and pasta master from Pizzaiolo, market chef and sustainable meat expert from 4505 Meats, and a cheesemonger from North Bay Curds and Whey!


Session 1: June 18 – June 29

Session 2: July 2 – July 13 (7/ 4 – off)

Session 3 (Closed)

Session 4: July 30 – august 10 session 5: august 13 – august 24

HOURS: 8:30am - 3pm.

EXTENDED CARE is available from 8-8:30am & 3-5pm for $75/week or $150/session.


To register for this awesome opportunity for your child, please visit KMS Summer Camps.

NEW! Private cooking classes available!

Is your child interested in cooking but can't make it to one of the group classes or summer camps? Sign up for private classes! The price is $125 for an hour and forty five minute class for up to 2 siblings (each additional sibling is an extra $15), and are held at the kitchen at the school. The classes are from 6:00-7:45pm and include all ingredients and a light dinner for the students. Topics and lessons are completely up to the parent and children to decide, and I will have a consultation meeting a week before the scheduled class to determine with you what the class topic will be. Examples of classes are East Asian feasts, Savory and Sweet pies, Italian pasta making, Japanese sushi rolling, you name it, we can cook it!

Stay tuned for more upcoming classes, including $20 for 20 Somethings and DIY Pickle and Jam Workshops for families!