Have you heard about Kroger Chef Junior? This program offers a low-cost opportunity for kids to learn a new cooking skill in a mini-cooking class. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to spend a little quality time with Mom or Dad. Kroger Chef Junior is a program found at participating Kroger stores in South Carolina and Georiga, including both Columbia, SC and Atlanta, GA. We tried the Kroger Chef Junior in Columbia, SC and had a blast.
Each month is a different simple recipe, usually themed. For example, we went in May and did Fiesta Corn for Cinco de Mayo. It was very fun and something we look forward to doing again! So, here’s everything you need to know about Kroger Chef Junior from registration to what to expect at the class.
Kroger Chef Junior: Does Your Store Participate?
First off, go online to the Kroger Chef Junior Website and put in your zip code to find the locations close to you that offer Kroger Chef Junior. Currently in Columbia SC, two Kroger stores offer Kroger Chef Junior, and both are in northeast Columbia. One is off Two Notch Road just before Sandhills Mall – near the Target and Spring Valley High School – while the other is northwest on Robert’s Branch Parkway.
Once you select a location, you will need to register for the class.
Date and Time: Kroger Cooking Classes for Kids
As for when it is, classes are offered on select Saturdays between 9:00 am and 1:30 pm. As I said, there is one recipe class per month. That recipe is offered two weekends out of the month.
The slots to sign up for are 30 minutes, but it is pretty brief, closer to 15 minutes. Kids try the recipe one at a time, so it is not long to wait their turn or long to stay focused.
Cost for Kroger Chef Junior and What’s Included
The cost is $7 per kid, parents do not need to register. Included is:
- a reusable apron they can put their name on
- a single-use paper chef hat (adjustable),
- a patch that can be ironed or sewn on (one for each recipe),
- their own take-home durable plastic kitchen tool (this time measuring spoons),
- pocket to keep recipes
- and a recipe card of the day (good quality).
Age: Who is Kroger Chef Junior For?
There does not currently appear to be any age restrictions on the program. I took a four-year-old, and the instructor provided plenty of help. Older kids we saw also seemed to enjoy it. While you know your kid best, based on the setup, I’d say a three-year-old who is already helpful in the kitchen might be old enough and a ten or eleven-year-old with beginner interest in cooking might enjoy it, but mostly kindergarten to third graders are the target.
Also, there are enough spaces to book siblings or a playdate, but since kids work one at a time, I took one kid as a quick mommy and me experience (while I grabbed something from the store) as some special time where he got all my attention. If you’re looking for a way to do that, this is great.
The short one-on-one setup also works well for a beginner play date for kindergartners or others into parallel play with nuerodivergence, which is one reason we chose it.
Experience: What to Expect at Kroger Chef Junior
Right away, it was very easy to find the Chef Junior class. There were plenty of signs. It was located near an entrance as a display sort of off to the side near produce (and in the Two Notch Road location right by the Starbucks). A long-standing table, that would be wheelchair accessible, was decorated sort of like a picnic and held all the ingredients. The area had a lot of stimuli, so do be prepared for that.
My kid was thrilled with all the materials provided and could not wait to jump in and get started! The kids were allowed to forgo certain ingredients they didn’t like, and nothing particularly hazardous was used for this recipe, such as flames and sharp knives. It was very simple, but a big confidence builder and fun.
The recipe was definitely something he could make again at home, even on his own, which is a great skill. It also encouraged him to try something new. Although his experiment was not his favorite result, we do look forward to trying others.
This program and provided take-home materials set kids up to want to do more at home, after the class.
Afterward, as we did a little shopping, everyone in the store was very impressed with his chef’s ensemble, which made his day!
Main Takeaways from Kroger Chef Junior Experience:
- One Simple Recipe a Month, two Saturdays to choose from
- $7 a kid, register online
- One Kid at a time, brief activity
- Excellent materials
- Very fun learning experience
- Great for ages 4-8, first playdates, mommy/daddy and me outings
More Cheap Fun in Columbia
Looking for more free and cheap activities for kids in Columbia?
We’ve got you covered with our huge list: Free (and Cheap) Things to Do in Columbia, SC
Or, are you looking to do an outside experience and maybe whip up something with fresh strawberries? Check out our strawberry picking guide .
Find other longer classes offered around Columbia in our Class and Activity Guide.
What’s your favorite class or craft experience offered around Columbia?