Meet Niki Cordell, Founder & Owner

May 15, 2023

blog image

Hi! I’m Niki Cordell, the founder of Junior Chefs Kitchen. I thought I’d take a stab at our first blog post and share a bit more about me, my background, and how Junior Chefs Kitchen came to be. 

I was born and raised in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago with fond memories of sitting at our kitchen island growing up, doing homework while my late father cooked dinner - enchiladas, open faced turkey sandwiches, breakfast for dinner. Nothing elaborate but these memories instilled a love of meal time with my own family. 

As a mother of three (Olivia 8, Grayson 6, Lenny 4) and proud wife, all of my life’s experiences have led me here. I have spent my career in retail real estate and currently work in financial tech. Having founded and sold a small business (, I was looking for something to take everything I have learned and apply it to a new venture. Junior Chefs Kitchen was born from my love of children (not just my own!), as well as learning about nutrition, cooking with my family and the conversations that evolve around a dinner table. 

Dinners are special in our house. They are sacred times where we have a no cell phone at the table policy and spend time being present . We cherish this time to talk about our day - what we’re most grateful for, favorite part of our day, how we helped someone or how someone helped us. Maybe you’ve heard of rose, bud, thorn? This is a nightly ritual we use to help our children reflect on their days.

I have always been interested in health and wellness, cooking and being active. No idea who said it but it stuck with me: “you only get one body in this life, take care of it.” Which is why I’m so proud to share that our curriculum is Registered Dietitian approved, meaning a clinically-trained nutrition expert guides our recipes to be healthy, yet non-restrictive nourishment and educates our youth on the essential life skills of cooking and nutrition knowledge. Not only is this close to my personal values, but a driving force behind the JCK mission to empower children with proactive approaches to healthy living.

And I am so excited to have Claire Sanders on the team as a rockstar Director of Operations! Honestly, I have met my match of a task-master! This would not be possible without her and the pivotal role in driving the business forward. With a background in food studies, culinary education and hospitality, Claire’s expertise guides our business and allows us to translate culinarian-level skills into applicable, everyday cooking techniques to be used for a lifetime.

I hope you take some time to discover the joy of kids’ cooking at Junior Chefs Kitchen! Coming to Lincoln Park, Chicago this fall. 

Drop me a line anytime!