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Lodging Magazine – June 30, 2015

Kids Cooking Classes Help Drive Restaurant Revenue


In the wake of the success of wellness initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, Kristen Hess, Food Stylist/Blogger and Author of The Artful Gourmet and David Hillman, Owner and Producer of eDiningNews, joined forces to carve out their own slice of healthy programming: “Cooking with Color 4 Kids.” The interactive cooking program, which launched in 2013, is now being positioned as a marketing and media package for restaurants and hotels that want to generate additional revenue and publicity while demonstrating their commitment to improving the health of children.

Initially conceived by Hess as a cookbook, “Cooking with Color 4 Kids” evolved into a 28-minute New York public television and live streamed Internet program that encourages children to use the principles of color theory to cook up bright, nutritious recipes. With the help of young participants from HealthCorps’ “Teen Battle Chef,” Hess provides step-by-step instructions to create dishes so viewers can follow along remotely.


Through a team effort with Hillman, who has restaurant marketing services expertise, Hess decided to invite establishments to host events, during which children, parents, and the restaurant’s chef could cook alongside Hess and her young guests. “It was a logical extension to make an event that restaurants can use to invite customers to, both to increase revenue and increase loyalty,” Hillman says. “It gives the restaurant the ability to demonstrate the commitment to serving healthy food.”

Parents can register their children to take part in an interactive experience based on a price set by the host. (The company suggests a minimum fee of $19.95 per guest, but it’s solely up to the restaurant.) “Cooking with Color 4 Kids” takes a $10 commission out of each participant payment in exchange for posting announcements about the event on both The Artful Gourmet and eDiningNews, designing a marketing handout for the event, email promotions, and social media promotions.

“Cooking with Color 4 Kids” has released five new episodes that have aired on a monthly basis since it began two years ago, always themed around a holiday or season. According to Hess, the response from children, adults, and hosts has been positive.

“I think everybody likes the opportunity to meet other foodies and get to meet the chef and feel like you’re on the inside of the hotel or restaurant,” Hess says.

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