Dynamite Kids Cooking School

Delicious Recipes That Teach All the Skills You Need: A Cookbook

About the Book

Delicious recipes and lessons from The Dynamite Shop, the premier cooking school for young cooks, from beginners to budding chefs.


The Dynamite Shop is where kids from 7 to 17 have a blast learning fundamental cooking skills that they carry into their home kitchens and real life. From their Brooklyn school and in online classes, they’ve taught thousands of kids how to make dinner (and breakfast, and lunch . . . and dessert) with their signature mix of food kids really want to make, and detailed guidance. 
This cookbook features recipes from simple quesadillas filled with sautéed greens, a hearty lasagna, and a classic layer cake to exciting dishes like a quick, summery mac and cheese made with a light ricotta sauce, a puffy Dutch Baby pancake, and gingery pork or vegetarian Cantonese-style dumplings. With each recipe is a tip, trick, or technique that kids will learn and remember, not just for the next time they make this dish, but every time they get into the kitchen. Whether you’re just beginning to cook or you’re ready to tackle anything in the kitchen, this cookbook will empower and engage you to make a lifetime of great meals.
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Praise for Dynamite Kids Cooking School

“This book is a stylish, fun cookbook aimed at kids ages 7-17 (although, frankly, anyone new to cooking would benefit). . . This book sums up their approach and offers tips and a wealth of knowledge for any young person (and their sous chefs) wanting to get started in the kitchen. Some of these recipes are wow-worthy, and others will become quick favorites for the whole family.”—Edible Inland Northwest
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Dynamite Kids Cooking School

Welcome to the Shop

We’re glad you’re here, and we’re so excited to cook with you.

We’re Dana and Sara Kate, two food writers and friends—and, most importantly, parents—who, in 2018, opened a cooking school for kids and families in an old Brooklyn pizzeria that now beams classes online to students all over the world. 

We’re all about empowering kids in the kitchen and helping them gain confidence by learning to cook. In our school, we host The Dynamite Dinner Club several times a week and walk the students through making a full meal for their family—it might be seasonal pasta one week, vegetable fried rice the next. We cook alongside them, they ask questions, we get closeups of their cutting board. We also teach The Dynamite Baking Club, Weekend Workshops, weeklong summer camps, and a free Community Kitchen charity class where we invite guest chefs to teach us a dish to raise money for a social justice cause that’s meaningful to them.

We’re an inclusive and supportive community that revolves around food. Whether you’re a parent of a budding cook or a young chef picking up your first very own cookbook, we’re so happy you’re here.

This book is a collection of our most popular recipes from all our classes—that means kids love to make them, eat them, and serve them! They’re our greatest hits, with all the tips, tricks, lessons, and cooks’ wisdom we impart to our students as we’re cooking together. Our recipes are designed to teach kids how to think and act like confident home cooks.

We started The Dynamite Shop because we believe there are so many reasons to get kids in the kitchen early and often. As people who spend most days working with and thinking about food (Sara Kate has written three other cookbooks and started a popular food site called TheKitchndotcom, and Dana is a food writer and former executive editor at Saveur, Food & Wine, and other culinary magazines), we could never find a cooking school that we would want to enroll our own kids in: most of them were too cutesy (you know, like “kidz” with a z) with infantilized recipes and instructions that talked down to kids and minimized their potential. Or, even worse, they taught cooking as a hyped-up sport, like cookingshow competitions with celebrity-chef bravura. They totally missed the point!

We wanted more for our kids in the kitchen. Cooking instruction has gradually disappeared from most of our lives without anyone ringing alarm bells. Most schools no longer teach home ec, and most households aren’t set up as they used to be, with multiple generations cooking together and passing down kitchen wisdom while preparing and sharing meals.

And as busy working parents, we also know that—let’s face it—the mealtime hustle and challenge are real. So we created a program where empowering kids in the kitchen to get dinner on the table at least once a week was the solution to all that.

We signed the lease on a run-down pizzeria and transformed the dilapidated storefront space into a comfy teaching kitchen, with a cook’s library, backyard garden, and neighborhood café up front. As soon as we opened, we were booked to capacity with our after-school program, which got dinner on one hundred families’ tables each week, and our summer camps, which served thousands.

When we weren’t teaching, we were a community hub: we hosted charity cookie swaps and PTA fundraisers, cooked for local shelters and assisted living residences, supported social action and food justice initiatives, made breakfasts for marches, and held election-year phonebank events. It’s crucial to us that we continue to make food spaces like kitchens and dinner tables places that are always welcoming young people to express themselves and to help one another.

In 2020, we switched to teaching cooking classes online so that kids could make dinner for their families in their own homes. Before we knew it, we were cooking with 500-plus families each week, all gathering remotely from around the world.

In the process of teaching online, we learned something important: teaching kids to cook in their own kitchens is the best way to help them build confidence and skills. They’re more focused and in their comfort zone, and most importantly, they’re cooking with a purpose—to feed the people they love. Our teachers can still see what they’re doing and guide them safely and joyfully as they make a meal. And when class is over, dinner is on the table.

We developed this program—and now this book—to teach, support, guide, and cheer you on your path to becoming a dynamite cook.

About the Author

Dana Bowen
Dana Bowen is a food writer and former executive editor of Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Rachael Ray Every Day and Saveur. She lives in Brooklyn and upstate New York with her husband and son. More by Dana Bowen
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About the Author

Sara Kate Gillingham
Sara Kate Gillingham is the founder of The Kitchn, an online kitchen and lifestyle community, a James Beard Award-winning food writer, and the author of three cookbooks: The Kitchn Cookbook, The Greyston Bakery Cookbook, and Good Food to Share. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her daughter. More by Sara Kate Gillingham
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