Kids' cooking classes being run at a new Rotorua restaurant are proving incredibly popular.

The classes, at Giovanni's, have only been running for two weeks, but restaurant owner and chef Deep Thakur says he has had 500 emails from interested parents.

"Every day, I'm getting 10 emails, it's just going around Rotorua.

"They're loving it... I'm really pleased with the parents' involvement."


The classes are designed to give children the skills to prepare healthy food, rather than rely on junk and fast food.

Mr Thakur came up with the idea for the classes after talking to a child at a restaurant where he worked.

When Mr Thakur asked what the boy had for breakfast, he said fish and chips.

"But it's not just the one child... Obesity is increasing day by day."

Deep-fried foods and fizzy drinks are not on the menu at Giovanni's, and the children have been learning to make fresh pasta and pizza, and recipes from Mr Thakur's cookbook.

The book is entitled My Revolution: a journey to a new life.

He has been selling copies at the Rotorua Night Market to raise money for a new venture - a local junior MasterChef competition.

Giovanni's opened in May, and the classes began last month.


The classes are free for parents, with money coming in to the restaurant paying for them.

Each "batch" of children attend classes for five weeks, Mr Thakur says, with 10-15 children in each class.

The lessons are designed for children aged 6 to 13, and parents are asked to accompany them.

He would eventually like to open another kitchen solely for the classes, which could accommodate more children.

"It's just a small kitchen.

"In future, I have plans to put money towards another kitchen to do bigger classes."

He says he would also like to write another book.

Although his background is in cooking rather than teaching, Mr Thakur says he has a role model for teaching cooking to children.

"I learnt my cooking from my mum."

To register your child for the cooking class go to