Sue Honkamp teaches kids about where their food comes from as well as how to prepare it.
By Wini Moranville
“The more my children were engaged in the creation of their food, the more they were excited to try new things,” says Sue Honkamp, owner of Real Food 4 Kids. If you have a child, you’ve likely heard this parenting wisdom before. But figuring out ways to get kids meaningfully involved in the kitchen can be a challenge when, really, everyone just wants to eat. Now.
That’s where Honkamp comes in. Since launching her business in 2016, she has taught over 225 classes to children, including hands-on cooking classes, after-school “cooking club” classes, and food education classes.
As the name of her business implies, she is passionate about real (versus processed) foods. But it hasn’t always been that way. With an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and an MBA from the University of Iowa, Honkamp worked as a brand manager for five years at Oscar Mayer.
“I learned a great deal about processed food and food marketing, and I resigned because I didn’t feel comfortable marketing foods to others that I had ceased purchasing for myself and my family,” she says. Soon, her work focused on promoting real foods; she worked for the “Buy Fresh/Buy Local” campaign and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and also took on some consulting gigs in the field.
Along the way, she taught her own four children to get involved in the kitchen as a way to learn a lifelong skill, while “sneaking in some art, science, and math, too,” she says. Now, she does the same for other kids. Her lessons go beyond cooking skills to help kids understand where their food comes from and how it’s produced.
“Kids will make choices about food every day of their life,” she says. “While they are young, their eating habits are still being formed and they have an eagerness to learn. I want to give them the tools to develop a lifelong skill that impacts their health in a positive way.”
Learn more about the classes that Honkamp offers on the Real Food 4 Kids website.