Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Amanda Marijanovic. Amanda is the Owner of Taste Buds Kitchen in Bannockburn.
Taste Buds Kitchen is a neighborhood kitchen offering everything from cooking classes for all ages, camps for kids when school is out, moms’ night out events, and even corporate functions. Taste Buds Kitchen makes it easy to learn to cook, and even if you’re a seasoned home chef, you’ll learn tips and tricks that will make prepping dinner for your family that much easier. Conveniently located in southeast Lake County near the intersection of Route 43 and Route 22, and easily accessible via the Tri-State Tollway, Taste Buds Kitchen is a great place to book an afterschool or weeknight get together for you or your kids, or attend a weekend class or event.
I sat down with owner Amanda Marijanovic to talk about her love of cooking and how life lead her to this amazing franchise that’s making it’s way around the county.
Amanda grew up in Chicago and moved to Lake Forest during high school. After studying journalism in college, she began working in event production where she discovered a love of marketing and business. As a mother of young boys, she began making her own baby food, and developed new recipes for her kids. She credits her introduction of homemade, multi-ingredient food to their diverse palate as they’ve grown, and even now, at the age of nine. According to Amanda,
I quickly realized I was grooming future foodies [when they were babies] as they eagerly gobbled up every spoonful with delight. This passion for good food seemed to grow so naturally for them and now manifests in their willingness to try just about anything and offer lots of help — messes and all — in the kitchen.
Amanda fed her own fervor for cooking by taking cooking classes, but one day while at a cooking class in Chicago, it dawned on her that what she really wanted to do was grow her own passion for cooking and make it her career. She “noodled around” the idea and knew that she wanted a “cute little neighborhood cooking boutique where kids and adults of all ages could come together to enjoy good food and a good time.” After doing some research she found Taste Buds Kitchen, the perfect culmination of her ideas.
With only nine locations throughout the United States, Taste Buds Kitchen has the high level of customer service that reaffirmed Amanda’s decision to open her own kitchen. Taste Buds Kitchen offered her the ability to use her business and marketing background combined with her love of cooking to create the perfect place where kids and adults could come to have a great experience and learn to cook good food they can recreate at home.
During my visit to the kitchen, we walked around and looked at all the ingredients and tools. I asked Amanda how she finds the chefs she hires at Taste Buds Kitchen. With her chefs working with children as well as adults, she couldn’t just hire the line cook from the restaurant down the street. Amanda replied,
We look for chefs that have a background in education or performing arts. We want chefs that not only have a passion for teaching, but that also have excitement and can engage the children.
One of the comments Amanda gets the most is about how busy the children are in the kitchen. Any parent knows that a two-hour class could mean herding cats at points, but Amanda says that her chefs keep the kids moving and working with their hands so that there’s no time to get bored. Camp sessions last three hours and when they’re not cooking, the kids are learning about ingredients, doing experiments and playing with their food.
And lets not forget about the parties! Taste Buds Kitchen hosts parties at their kitchen in Bannockburn or they can even come to you! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Amanda’s crew will come to schools to host classes and can go anywhere there’s a sink — they’ll even bring their own oven if need be. I was also happy to hear that they host field trips and scout troops for events as well.
Another aspect of Taste Buds Kitchen is corporate events and adult BYOB evening classes. With three course meals that you cook from start to finish and a family-style dinner of your creation after, this sounded to me like the perfect mom’s night out or suggestion for an employee appreciation evening. With themes like Handmade Pasta, Tasty Thai, and Let’s Brunch, I could see myself signing up every month and still coming back for more! Worried that you’ll learn how to make an amazing dish and forget all the ingredients? Amanda assured me that everyone leaves with the recipes so you can be the talk of the dinner party in your own home with your newfound skills and ideas.
Disclosure: Taste Buds Kitchen is our featured Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact sales[at]LittleLakeCounty[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our series.