Elementary students collaborating on a project.

Learning to Cook, Family Style

Grandma's secret recipe of homemade biscuits smothered with sausage gravy. Dad's hot, grilled hamburger patties served out on the deck. Your own new recipe of roasted brussels sprouts with olive oil and crispy bacon. Each of these food descriptions has something in common. They include an emotional connection to food and family and can live on in memory for decades. World‐class restaurant quality foods can have the same effect but enjoying a family meal at a restaurant with younger children can be an ordeal. That's why Family Style came into existence.

Brent and Cayce Miller were living very busy lives and missed out on enjoying their favorite restaurant meals due to fear of toddler tears and meltdowns. Deciding there had to be other families experiencing the same want, they formed Family Style.

Brent explains that "Even if it's not at one of our events, don't let parenthood force you into being a hermit. Despite the daunting task of getting out of the house with all of your worldly possessions and your children can seem overwhelming, it is incredibly important to still do the things you enjoy and expose your children to the vast experiences in their community."

Family Style partners with local venues and restaurants to engage families in food-focused programming. Their kid‐friendly programs include culinary investigations, outdoor celebrations, fine dining experiences, hands-on cooking demos, and more. The children have an opportunity to learn, get their fill of delicious food, and interact with other children and families. Parents have an opportunity to let their guard down and savor the moment while enjoying good food, beverages, and memorable family experiences.

The goal of Family Style is to encourage families to visit local restaurants and businesses without feeling the pressure that their children will bother other patrons. The Millers plan these events with their own family in mind. They're confident their own family would enjoy each event and find ways to scale it up to meet the needs of a larger group. The Family Style experiences are inclusive of different family structures and fun for all ages. Past events include Baby Proof Brunches, Make‐Your‐Own Guacamole, Chocolate Factory Tours, and more.

"We hosted a make-your-own dumpling class at Trophy Maywood. Families came together and kids were able to create different types of dumplings on their own under the direction of Kim Hunter, owner of Umma Dumpling. The kids loved it, but the parents may have had even more fun! The event included a demonstration from Kim, a History of Dumplings class, and an opportunity for kids to try making dumplings for themselves. While the dumplings were cooking, attendees participated in "Chopstick Olympics." Watching the adults compete to pick up single grains of rice, with chopsticks, while their kids cheered them on was an event in itself," Brent said.

You can sign up for their mailing list by visiting www.familystylenc.com and follow them on Instagram and Twitter.