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Hands-On Cooking: Taste Buds Kitchen puts us in touch with how food gets to our plates

by on December 31, 2018 8:57 AM

Cooking brings families and people from different cultures together. The food that we share not only strengthens relationships, but inspires conversation, engagement, laughter, and comfort.

Michael Pollen writes in the book Cooked, “We all have powerful memories of being cooked for. When we learned to cook is when we became truly human. Is there any practice less selfish, any time less wasted than preparing something delicious and nourishing for the people we love? But we have lost touch with how that food got to our plates, because we have allowed corporations to do the cooking for us.”

Taste Buds Kitchen in State College is teaching adults and children as young as 2 years of age how to cook. The franchise, lead by owner Susan McWhirter, opened in February 2018 at 331 Benner Pike. McWhirter was inspired to open a Taste Buds Kitchen in State College after trying to find cooking classes for her daughter as an after-school activity. After some research, she attended an adult class at a Taste Buds Kitchen in New York City and immediately knew that State College would embrace such a concept.

Taste Buds Kitchen hosts hands-on cooking events that include one to four recipes – depending on the age group, theme, and length of the workshop – in a custom-designed, nut-free kitchen studio staffed by 11 highly trained culinary experts and educators. Popular adult classes featuring recipes from different world cuisines include Taste of India, Tasty Thai, and Mexican Fiesta. Handmade pasta and sushi are other classes that adults can take to learn new techniques. There are more than 20 adult classes currently being offered, with more events planned for the upcoming months.

Some of the more popular children’s classes involve cupcakes, pizza, and soft pretzels.

“Older children love to battle it out in the kitchen in order to test technique so our Battle Cupcake and Pasta Wars are very popular,” says McWhirter. “The Secret Ingredient Challenge is another fun cooking experience where children get to create unique dishes. Kids are much more likely to try new foods when they are involved in cooking it.”

Classes can vary in size from four to 32 attendees, and private classes are also available. Taste Buds Kitchen can be booked for camps, field trips, showers, anniversaries, and corporate team-building, as well as birthday and holiday parties.

“We run single-day or weekly camps anytime school is not in session, with different themes for sweet and savory recipes,” says McWhirter. “Our Cooking Science Series starts mid-January as an after-school program where children can sign up for a single class or for the whole 12-week series.”

Coming soon, Taste Buds Kitchen will be developing a mobile kitchen to bring the experience to local schools and after-school programs.

Reservations and schedules are listed on the website,, or call Taste Buds Kitchen State College at (814) 238-1212 for more information.


Get $10 off your first class if you mention this Town&Gown article or by using promo code 10TandG when you register on the website.


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