Five questions with owners of MESA Kids Cooking School

Updated: Aug. 9, 2018 at 7:58 PM EDT
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Bobby and Ysha Bass, the owners of MESA Kids Cooking School. (Source: Family photos)
Bobby and Ysha Bass, the owners of MESA Kids Cooking School. (Source: Family photos)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's back-to-school time for kids in WAVE Country. And there's a new type of school that might interest your child. It's a cooking school.

Growing up, my brother and I thought "cooking" was putting a piece of bologna in the microwave for 30 minutes (it's actually delicious). But this will take your child's cooking experience and knowledge to a whole new level.

It's the brainchild of Bobby and Ysha Bass, who are brokers at Bass Group Real Estate in Jeffersonville. They are also the owners of MESA, a collaborative kitchen, a place that offers cooking classes and demonstration. They said they always knew they wanted to do something in the food industry but didn't have the time for a full-time restaurant, so they started MESA (located at 216 Pearl St. in New Albany). And now nearby, there's MESA Kids Cooking School.

Here are my five questions with Bobby and Ysha Bass of MESA.

1. What made you think of a Kids Cooking School?

We hosted monthly kid classes at Mesa as part of our portfolio and we saw that not only did they sell out, but kids were wanting to learn more than what we had to offer at Mesa. Mesa was not the right setup for kids. so we decided that they needed their own space where they could really learn old and new world culinary skills, We took a 1,200 sq. ft. facility and turned it into a wonderful scaled kitchen for 5-14 year-olds. It's equipped with their own cooking stations, five ovens and small refrigerators. They get to showcase their food and also give back to the community through some special events through the year.

2. Do you find that kids have the attention span and ability to create some of the food items? What's the average age?

Yes, we definitely think so! In fact, there is a local award-winning restaurant, Gospel Bird, across the street from Mesa Kids and they have reached out to us to collaborate together on a project in September. They want their kid menu to be kid inspired so our chefs will be testing recipes to be on their menu! This is a great opportunity for our kids to see their accomplishments in the kitchen can go into the real world!

3. How does the "black coat" program work.

Kids have to be in the regular classes for at least 10 months before applying to be in this program. The instructors also have to give a letter of recommendation to the student to be in this elite program. They will receive a white chef coat and patches as they achieve to learn a skill that is being taught in culinary schools. The classes will also have internships in real restaurants where chefs will take them to their kitchens and give them live experiences in the real world. Our goal is that once a junior chef has all their patches, that their skill is good enough to be able to apply to get a job and walk on to be a cook at any restaurant. They will receive a black coat with their name stitched to it at their graduation.

4. What's the most popular cooking class for kids?

Baking classes are very popular. Mostly when it comes to different type of breads.

5. Tell me about the opportunity to sponsor a child.

We have set up sponsorship opportunities where individuals or businesses can donate money for scholarships for children who come from less fortunate backgrounds. We also use that money to help offset costs if it's not the whole fee. This depends on the situation. Parents can apply for the funding and have to show proof of hardship and income to qualify. Then we can decide if we can give them 100% scholarship or partial coverage towards their fee. This is only available until the funding runs out. You can donate to this program online.

For more information, visit the MESA Kids Cooking School website here.

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