Are your kids already climbing the walls since coronavirus concerns closed the school system? Looking to enrich the mind of your budding young chef at home? Victoria’s Kitchen has just the thing.
For the past two years, Ellen “Victoria” Luckey has taught youngsters in Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond and Hopewell how to make basic dishes as part of in-school and after-school enrichment classes. As of last Thursday – and in response to the coronavirus – Luckey and company have started to offer cooking kits for kids to learn these lessons at home.
From simple strawberry shortcake recipes geared to cooks age 2 and up, to curry sloppy joes and Tex-Mex chicken bakes that are aimed at teens, Luckey says she wants to have a few dishes available for every youngster.
She originally planned to offer the meal kits in April, when Victoria’s Kitchen is scheduled to open its first storefront space at Stonebridge Shopping Center. But with school canceled, parents began calling on behalf of children who would normally be taking Luckey’s classes.
“There were a lot of people calling us since Monday, and emailing us, and going to our social media and sending us private messages,” says Luckey, a Meadowbrook High graduate and mother of three. “Their kids wanted more of our classes.”
When parents order the kits online, they can specify whether they would prefer to pick up the kits at the store or have them delivered for a $6 fee. The business only delivers within a 7-mile radius of the store. Luckey says the kits that include meat will be packed with dry ice or something similar. Orders currently take 48 hours to process.
At this time, Victoria’s Kitchen offers 10 different kits on its website, but Luckey says that number will expand as groceries become more readily available.
“We have a full … vault of recipes that we cannot wait to roll out,” she says.
That includes meals created in collaboration with the Virginia Family Nutrition Program, a Virginia Cooperative Extension effort that encourages the public to make smart food and lifestyle choices.
Through the program, stories like Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” are paired with recipes that reflect them. In the case of “Caterpillar,” it’s how to make popsicles with fruits and vegetables.
The kits currently listed online are in the $15-$25 range and generally make 2-3 servings. Each kit comes with a recipe card and a cooking utensil like a whisk or a cooking spoon that kids can keep; the hope is that children will begin to build their own inventory of kitchen implements. Beginning this week, Luckey plans to post videos that will accompany her kit recipes, starring herself and her family.
When the coronavirus danger passes, Luckey plans to use her storefront space for field trips from schools and day care facilities, conduct cooking demonstrations, and host classes for home schoolers and other children during public school break periods.
As for the kits, Luckey says she wants them to bring families together during this stressful time.
“We’re hoping that this gives the parents a chance to bond with their kids,” she says. ¦
Victoria’s Kitchen is located at 249 Stonebridge Plaza Ave., North Chesterfield. victoriascookingschool.com, 804-386-2164