Those that can – Read Irene’s story here, how she swapped Early Years teaching to become Founder of Cheeky Kitchen:

I have been teaching for about 15 years, first as an assistant teacher and most recently as an Early Years class teacher. I love working with young children. Teaching has given me a lot of adventures by enabling me to work in different countries in international schools. I loved the life of a teacher, we work hard during the term and then take a break during school holidays. I feel that’s how everyone should work.

After the birth of my daughter, I went back to teaching part time but I had other priorities then. I struggled with juggling work and family life during term time. I found it difficult to just take home work like I used to and work in the evenings as I have a family to look after.

I was on the sofa on a Saturday night, when I came up with the idea of starting Cheeky Kitchen. I stayed home with my daughter for 18 months after she was born so I feel I know a lot about local classes for children and what are on offer.

Cheeky Kitchen, cookery sessions for young children, was born out of my passions for teaching young children life skills and the love of food. It was great to have a lot of talented family and friends who helped me set up the website, take professional looking photos, get me started on social media, design the logo, come to practice sessions until I was happy with what we have to offer.

My background as a teacher helped a lot in setting up my small business.  Resilience, hard work, multi-tasking, being able to do different tasks or quickly learn how to do a particular task, public speaking/presentation are just some of the things we do as teachers and these skills are transferrable to starting and running a business.

I started with cookery workshops during school holidays and we are now running weekly sessions and looking to open at other venues. We have just celebrated our first year and it has been an amazing year. I learnt new skills, met great people and loved every minute of it. There are ups and downs in running the business but I have never been happier and more fulfilled, career wise. When people ask me how it’s going, I say, “I love it, it doesn’t feel like work.” Don’t get me wrong, it is hard work, I do everything from planning the sessions, doing the sessions, marketing, recruitment, administration, finance but there’s something about having a concept in your head come to life that makes doing this so rewarding.

One of the best things about the work I do now is having parents and children come back and rave about the session and bring friends too. I have high hopes of growing the business to other venues and spreading the messy, cooking fun around in my area. Wish me luck!

Irene is an experienced Early Years teacher and runs Cheeky Kitchen, cookery sessions for young children, in South West London.