How To Make Money By Becoming A Cooking Instructor

Today, I have an informative interview to share with you that will show you how to become a cooking instructor and hold kid’s cooking classes. I recently had the chance to interview Jan Pinnington from Healthy Hands Cooking, who explains how this extra income opportunity may be a possibility for you. In 2011, Jan realized that her children were…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: February 24, 2017

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Today, I have an informative interview to share with you that will show you how to become a cooking instructor and hold kid’s cooking classes. I recently had the chance to interview Jan Pinnington from Healthy Hands Cooking, who explains how this extra income opportunity may be a possibility for you.

Did you know that you may be able to become a cooking instructor and hold kid's cooking classes? This could be a great opportunity and business idea!In 2011, Jan realized that her children were ill-equipped in the kitchen and falling into unhealthy eating habits.

She started teaching her daughter how to cook, and eventually more and more children started coming to her home for cooking lessons. Some parents started putting money in Jan’s apron to cover food and time and she suddenly thought, “hmmmm…I wonder if I could turn this into a business?”

This eventually led to Jan launching Healthy Hands Cooking.

Healthy Hands Cooking is a movement to fight childhood obesity by empowering adults to teach children about nutrition and healthy cooking through entertaining and informative classes, camps, and birthday parties.

Healthy Hands Cooking is a self-paced cooking instructor certification program that can be completed from the comfort of home. This is a 11 module course that will help you to create your own cooking business with the correct licensing, permits, background checks, food safety, marketing, and more.

If you are looking for a new business idea or even just a way to earn some side income, this may be something that you want to look into.

Check out the interview below for more information on how to become a cooking instructor and hold kid’s cooking classes.

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Here is how you can become a cooking instructor and hold kid’s cooking classes:

 

Please give us a little background on yourself and how you started your cooking instructor business.

This cooking instructor business was really just something I stumbled upon out of a need to fix a concerning situation at home.

I remember very distinctly back in 2011 trying to rush out the door to get my kids to football and karate practice and trying to make some dinner omelets to get us all fed.  I asked my daughter, (who was 11 at the time), if she would crack 6 eggs into a bowl.  She stared at me like I had TWO HEADS and I remember in that very instant thinking wow…at her age I was making full meals with my mom.  I asked her if she wanted to learn how to cook and her enthusiastic squeal of delight gave me my answer.  So, every Tuesday after getting off the school bus, she would come running down the street with a few friends and we would spend a few hours in the kitchen making healthy meals and snacks from scratch.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t long before more kids asked to come to my house and I was greeting parents at the door to let them know they were welcome.  Some parents started putting money in my apron to cover food and time and I suddenly thought, hmmmm…I wonder if I could turn this into a business?

Before long, I outgrew my kid’s cooking classes at home and decided to move my cooking instructor service to a nearby community center.  By then, I had developed our 8-Hour Core Cooking program that incorporates kitchen safety, cross-contamination, nutrition education, and recipe preparation into four, 2-hour classes covering healthy snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. 

With my background in developing custom corporate communications programs, my education in nutrition, and my passion for cooking, this was a no-brainer and a perfect fit for how I envisioned teaching kids these important life skills.

During one of my fee-based kid’s cooking classes, a little 8-year old boy came up to me and asked where mashed potatoes came from.  I said, “Honey, they come from potatoes” and he was shocked.  He thought they could only come from a box.  That was my saddest but greatest AHA moment and I instantly began to wonder what the health of our nation could look like if we had a thousand, or even ten thousand instructors teaching just 10 kids a month. 

I decided to take everything I had learned over the course of several years and created an online training program called Healthy Hands Cooking Certified Instructor Training. That’s how Healthy Hands Cooking was born.

 

Can you tell us more about this business idea? How does it work?

Sure. It’s a 3-step process.

  1. Enroll online to take Become a Healthy Hands Cooking Certified Instructor and take the 11-module online training course that teaches anyone how to set up their business structure, licensing, permits, marketing, media, etc.  During this training, instructors-in-training will also need to do a food handling safety course and background check (which is a minimal extra charge).  We have a private Facebook community just for instructors and instructors-in-training who are there to help and support one another through this process if needed.
  2. After certification, an instructor can decide to either start teaching his/her own custom classes on their own, or they can join the HHCIC (instructor community) and get instant support tools like a customizable website, HHC lesson plans, recipes, class scheduler, payment portal, support and more.  There are monthly and annual pricing options depending on their needs.
  3. Start scheduling classes!  The training will teach instructors where to teach, how to teach, when to teach, and anything else they need to get their business going.

 

How much can a new cooking instructor expect to make? 

I’m almost embarrassed to say how profitable this kid’s cooking classes business is.  One of the things I was fiercely adamant about was creating a business model where our instructors keep 100% of everything they earn. 

In saying that, we have no franchise fees, no hidden fees, and no sales commission fees of any kind. 

Let me give you an example of a typical class scenario. 

Let’s say an HHC instructor holds one 2-hour class a week with 10 kids and they charge our recommended price of $30/student.  That one class can be held in a home or partner facility such as a school (which is usually free) plus the cost of food and supplies at approximately $4/student.  The income to the instructor is $300.00 – $40.00 in costs leaving them about $260 profit or $130 an hour!  That’s twice as much as the median wage of lawyers!  Plus, these classes can be portable so a full kitchen is not required to teach classes. 

The only other fee they have if they collect credit cards for their classes is a very small payment processing fee to the payment provider – but that is such a tiny percentage of the sale and very worth the convenience of being able to accept online payments. For facilities that charge a fee for use, we recommend that our cooking instructors increase their class fees to cover the costs of the facility.

If an instructor held one kid’s cooking class a week that’s about $15,000 in income a year.  Two classes a week is $30,000; 3 classes is $45,000.  We have many instructors making full time income teaching part-time hours.  We even had one instructor book $63,000 in revenue by holding 9 weeks of summer cooking camps last summer.  It’s amazing!

Plus, we have a business plan to help cooking instructors grow even larger if they so choose by hiring and training HHC Certified Helpers who can help teach more students in multiple locations at once. This opportunity is truly unlimited!

 

Is this a full-time job or a part-time one?

It’s both. 

An instructor can turn this into a great little hobby or a cooking empire of their own.  It’s really all up to the individual to decide what they want to do. The beautiful thing is that this is totally flexible so a cooking instructor can work around the needs of his/her own schedule to make this happen.

 

What do you like about this business?

I love that fact that we are empowering others with their own businesses while at the same time doing our part to fight childhood obesity and educating kids and families. 

I heard a statistic recently that we now have two generations of families who have not learned home cooking skills, and as you know, there are no more home economics classes available in schools either. 

What an honor it is to be able to effect positive change in the health of our nation while also having a positive economic impact by helping others earn a fun living doing something that really matters. We currently have 326 instructors but our growth goal is 15,000 (one for every McDonald’s) so we have lots of opportunity to train more instructors to really make a difference.

 

How can a person start their own kid’s cooking classes?

I recommend they go to our website and thoroughly check it out.  We have an instructional webinar that shows them exactly what they will get and how to get started.  Then if they still have questions, they can just pop an email to us as well.

 

How much does it cost to start and maintain this business?

It is a one-time cooking instructor certification fee of $497 plus a background check of $15 and a food safety handling course which is $17.45 in the U.S. (and varying prices in Canada).  The cooking instructor community has different options starting at $99/year (to maintain certification only) or $39/month for limited membership, and $70/month for full membership. 

On top of that, cooking instructors will purchase liability insurance and likely an Instructor Starter Kit for $195 which includes instructor’s manual, apron, cutting boards, chef knives, measuring cups, spoons, bowls, and more. 

This is available in our Instructor’s Store once a person becomes certified.  With everything in, an instructor can expect to pay around $1,500 in their first year which can be recouped by holding one summer cooking camp with 10 students. 

Compared to Young Chef’s Academy or Tasty Buds Franchises charging between $70,000 to $300,000 per instructor, we are a very affordable alternative solution.

 

Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to try this?

This opportunity is perfect for anyone who loves kids and cooking.  We have stay-at-home moms, dads, teachers, nutrition grads, entrepreneurs, grandmothers, wellness advocates, and anyone in between teaching HHC classes. 

I would recommend looking for a class near them by going to our website and putting in their zip code.  Maybe just attending a class would give them a good feel about how our programs are structured. 

We also have some great content on our Healthy Hands Cooking Facebook page that highlights some of the great work our instructors are doing.

 

Now, I know you offer products to instruct others how to start their own business. What can a person learn from your instruction? 

Once a person finishes our certified cooking instructor training, they are completely equipped to go out on their own and start their career.  And since our classes can be portable, they can be taught anywhere – like homes, schools, churches, gyms, grocery stores, wellness offices and more. Some of our instructors have received employment contract positions while others prefer the flexibility of being self-employed.  We have both for-profit and non-profit instructors so adding HHC classes to an existing service is a great way to optimize the training. 

In addition, our cooking instructors can choose to offer any other service or product under the scope of their business umbrella, so in addition to teaching Healthy Hands Cooking classes, they may also be teaching things like kid’s yoga, art classes, or even creating their own specialty classes such as raw foods classes, vegan cooking and more. 

As mentioned, this is such a huge opportunity for personal creation with ultimate flexibility and fun.

Are you interested in learning how to become a cooking instructor so that you can hold kid’s cooking classes?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Hey Michelle,

    I really enjoyed your interview here with Jan. Looks like she’s really onto something here. Heck, I could use one of the summer camp classes. I can make a mean PB+J, but not much outside of that!

    It’s fun to see how people solve a need in their own lives, realize it’s a need everyone has, and then address those pain points with what is clearly a much-needed business. Always fascinates me.

    I’ll make sure to share this around. Have a great weekend.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    1. Absolutely, Ige. Love the ‘mustard seed’ reference (straight from the Bible). The smallest seed turns into one of the biggest plants. With the right attention and nurturing, our ideas / dreams can turn into something amazing that benefits so many.

  2. Go Finance Yourself!

    This is really cool. My wife is a middle school cooking teacher. She’s done some summer programs in the past where she helped teach kids to cook. I’ll be passing this on to her. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Mrs. BITA

    Another new side hustle that I had never heard of before! I like that this one not only makes money but empowers the certified instructors to build out their own paths as they see fit. If that wasn’t enough, a whole new generation of children are learning to be self sufficient and eat healthy. Win, win, win.

  4. Michelle,

    Thank you so much for shining a light on what we are doing to empower children and families with healthier choices. Really appreciate your support of our mission, and for sharing the story behind Healthy Hands Cooking!

    In health,
    Jan

  5. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    This is such a cute idea! Man, I’d love to do something like this on the side. :3 There’s nothing like turning a passion into a profitable side hustle, after all. I guess I’m always nervous about the jerks out there; there are a lot. Since I’m an introvert, I think it could be more fun to make a video series of cooking lessons instead of live lessons, but that’s just my preference.

  6. Chelsea @ Mama Fish Saves

    This is such an awesome idea! I especially love that it is a side hustle that also helps empower kids to be self sufficient and eat healthy.

    I have a friend who has been doing some small cooking classes for kids near where I went to high school and I wonder if she is using this. I’ll be sending her the article for sure! Thanks for sharing the interview!

  7. Kristine Freshour

    I am a proponent of teaching healthy eating for families. What you are doing is a great service to families. However, as a chef instructor I find that the income per hour that you list is misleading. I have found that teaching a class entails much more time than the 2 hours that you are in front of the students. Marketing, equipment acquisition, paperwork, grocery shopping, communications, recipe development and cleanup all need to be factored into this job. More often than not, I find myself putting in an additional 4 hours or more per class depending on the number of students and menu. Potential instructors should be aware of the actual time demands.

    1. Anna Brannon

      I agree with you! Also, the fee for this school needs updated from the original interview. It has gone from $497 to $10k + other expenses AND they take 10 percent off the top from your all of your classes. I was going to sign up bc the website stated the price was $497+ some necessary other fees. The taking 10 percent off the top was not mentioned. I needed to talk to my husband about it before signing up. However, the next day I went to the website and the whole sign up price changed with all of those additions I mentioned. Oh, I could sign up for $5,000 if I made by the deadline of May 3rd, 2019. I think Iโ€™ll pass. ๐Ÿ˜œ

      1. stanton

        Its turned into a franchise opportunity now, costing $28,000 plus monthly. I had thought about joining way back when it was $497. Now I am kicking myself for waiting but I too, will pass now.

  8. Michelle,
    First of all thanks a lot for putting all this together and coming up with a very informative blog. Making money by becoming a cooking intructor would be a great job. I would like to see more articles from you on this topic.

  9. This is why I love the online side hustle. While traditional day jobs were the norm back in the 1950’s, 60’s and roaring 70’s in the Woodstock and Prohibition era and could retire on a good pension, side hustling online today makes regular daytime employment obsolete. A person’s financial stability nowadays is defined by their creativity, not by the loyalty they pledge to a company or an unthankful day job employer. I’m glad the internet is here because I always had the entrepreneur in me waiting to come out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Roslyn Stewart

    Hello, my name is Roslyn I like to open up my own cooking school for children, I am an enterpernur has been for many years went to Community College for some Chef worked many fast food business as executive manager owned five business of my own. I also have food license was just up-dated in August 2020 took food handlers course and food safety class how can I get started with becoming a instructor teaching children