About us

CookingThyme offers cooking classes for kids of all ages in the Portland area. Combining elements of math, science, and creative arts, cooking provides kids with an outlet of self-expression that yields a tasty final product! Each hands-on class features fresh ingredients and innovative recipes in a variety of fun themes. CookingThyme is also available for private birthday parties, themed parties, scout troops, bridal showers, and team building activities.

For Joan Browning, it all began with a meal. Sharing stories and delicious meals around the dinner table with her family served as a foundation for what would later become CookingThyme. Growing up in a home where dinner time was a priority, homemade bread was always on hand and meals were predictably delicious, Joan’s interest in cooking sparked at a young age. Helping her mother in the kitchen and learning time-tested family recipes brought about countless memories and life skills, as well as a firm belief in the importance of the family meal.

Joan carried these lessons with her as she began her own family. Dinner time became integral to her husband David and four children as well, as they gathered each night to share a meal, tell stories and grow together. These times were about more than food; and yet it all began with a meal.

With hundreds of quick-meal and fast food choices available today, home cooking is quickly becoming a lost art. Meals are rushed, families don’t spend time together, and children never learn basic kitchen skills. Joan founded CookingThyme in 2008 as a way to preserve the art of the home cooked meal, and share kitchen techniques and recipes with both children and adults. For us, cooking is about more than food.

Joan Browning is certified to teach grades K-12 in Oregon and recently retired after 17 years of teaching family and consumer studies (home economics) at a local middle school. Joan has a degree in fashion design from Woodbury University ('78) and her master's degree in teaching with an endorsement in family and consumer studies from George Fox University ('94). She founded CookingThyme in 2008, using her teaching experience to share her love for cooking with both kids and adults. Joan plans and instructs all of the classes out of her custom-built kitchen in Happy Valley.
Jen and Katie, two of Joan's daughters, help out behind the scenes for CookingThyme, focusing on event coordination, marketing and promotion. Jen has a degree in public health from Oregon State University ('04) and her master's degree in teaching from Concordia University ('05). She is the director of Sunshine School in Southeast Portland. Katie has a degree in journalism from Point Loma Nazarene University ('10) and works in e-communication and graphic design.