The Curious Mummy Meets Irene the founders of The Cheeky Kitchen. A South West London’s cookery school designed especially for kids. Today Irene shares her tips on starting a enterprise, how she finds the balance between Motherhood and running a business and lets us into her favourite family recipe.
Thank you for joining us today Irene, please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Irene, a local mum, food lover and experienced Early Years Nursery Teacher.
Tell us about The Cheeky Kitchen and what gave you the idea to start?
The Cheeky Kitchen introduces young children to the cooking process. We talk about where food comes from, use healthy, fresh ingredients, sample different cuisines and do hands food preparation. I love food and I am passionate about teaching children life skills at an early age. Like most mums, I sometimes struggle with my little girl during meal times. I thought that if I involve her in the process , eating will be more fun and less stressful for both of us.
Describe your typical day?
My schedule during the week depends on whether I’m a mum looking after my toddler or I’m teaching sessions. If I’m with my daughter, you’ll find us out and about around Tooting at the park, leisure centre or library most days. If I’m teaching sessions, I’m up at 630am setting up the kitchen for our little chefs.
What is the best part of your job?
I get to do things that I love and it doesn’t feel like work. It has its own challenges but I enjoy the challenges because they push me to learn new things and go out of my comfort zone.
What would you say the most important thing is in running a business? What has been the greatest lesson you have learnt?
Good people are the most important aspect of running a business. I would like the people I work with to feel valued and take as much pride in what we do.
The greatest lesson I’ve learnt is to take a deep breath when I’m stressed out and to not act when I’m upset/stressed out.
Congratulations on becoming an Ambassador for BKD, the multi award winning Bakers Club for Children. What an amazing achievement to be connected to such a fantastic brand. Please tell us all about it?
I applied to become one of BKD’s Ambassadors and showed them what we have been doing so far. I’m really pleased that they saw good in what we do, promoting independence and learning through cooking/baking and chose us to be part of their team. Isla and I have had so much fun making their baking kits and I’ll hopefully do the recipe in a Cheeky Kitchen soon.
I also want to talk about our experience taking part in Tootopia which was a celebration of local business in Tooting. It was another great experience to be part of such an event and it brought a lot of local families to our door. It is our main goal to provide a service that local families enjoy and look forward to.
As the ultimate Mummy Juggler, how do you find a balance between running a successful business, and raising a family?
Another mummy juggler shared with me an important tip that I found useful. When I’m with my daughter, unless it is an emergency, I don’t check work emails. It was great to set specific times for specific tasks as there was a point when I felt I wasn’t doing a good job either as a mum or entrepreneur. It has worked well for me and I try to stick to this rule.
After work, how do you find time to relax?
I watch Netflix or read a book.
What are your top five tips for starting a successful business?
- Find something you’re passionate about.
- Don’t think too much about the money. Focus on the service/product and the money will come.
- Treat people well.
- There’s no better time than today to do something.
- It does not have to be perfect.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. It is an interesting concept and just taking tips on how I can work smart.
As the owner of Cheeky Kitchen, we would love you to share your favourite family recipe, with us.
PIZZA WITH MOZZARELLA AND BASIL
- 1 ½ tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for oiling
- 250ml warm water
- 375g strong plain flour plus extra for sprinkling
- salt and pepper
- tomato sauce
- fresh basil leaves
- Mix the yeast with 3 tbsp water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and pepper. This is your dry bowl.
- Pour the yeast, water and oil into your dry bowl and mix everything with your hands.
- Sprinkle flour over the table then knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
- In a large bowl, pop the dough and cover with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place and let it rise until it has doubled in size or about 30 minutes.
- Take it out of the bowl and knead the dough. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle and place on a baking sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 220C Gas Mark 7. Spread the 1-2 tbsp tomato sauce on the pizza base.
- Add your toppings. Tear up the basil leaves and crumble the mozzarella.
- Cook in the oven for 12 minutes or until they are golden.
Inspired by my friend Alena’s recipe
If you were to host the ultimate dinner party and you could invite anyone in the world, who would be on your guest list?
I would invite:
Prue Leith. She’s someone who has achieved so much and it a great inspiration to women entrepreneurs.
Michael McIntyre. I love his sense of humour and I think he’ll be fun to have at a dinner party.
Michelle Obama. She is a smart woman who has made her mark in the world and I would love to meet her.