A Culinary Playground 11

Taste Buds delights Missoula’s palate with kitchen event studio


In what room in the house can more fun be had than in the kitchen? Christine and Alex Fregerio agree it’s a playground, and the husband-and-wife team have recently opened Taste Buds Kitchen, a culinary event studio that acts, as described on their website, as “a kids kitchen by day and a BYOB adult kitchen by night.”

The idea for such an endeavor was triggered after a 2009 European adventure took them to the continent’s great culinary capitals. The University of Montana graduates have settled in Missoula to raise their family and launch this sure-to-be delicious venture.

How would you describe Taste Buds Kitchen?

Taste Buds Kitchen is a fun, engaging, hands-on culinary entertainment experience for all ages. We make fresh, unique dishes from scratch in our bright kitchen studio, and our chefs (customers)—young in years and heart—are involved every step of the way.

Where did you hear about this unique business and what made you decide to bring it to Missoula?

Shortly after the birth of our daughter, we realized that while it is great to be a kid in Missoula, there isn’t a surplus of activities to do with little ones (2-6 year olds). Simultaneously, we were feeling the itch to become business owners. After much research and soul searching, we stumbled across this awesome opportunity to bring Taste Buds Kitchen to Missoula; that satisfied both of our needs. We love kids, love to cook, and Alex (as a teacher by trade) loves to teach, so this was a perfect fit.

Where does your interest in food and culinary education come from?

We both have always loved to cook (and eat!), but our passion for food really took root during our half-year adventure to Europe in 2009. We were fortunate to have so many amazing culinary experiences there. It inspired us, and we knew we wanted to do something with food when we returned to the U.S. but didn’t know exactly what…until we found Taste Buds Kitchen.

Taste Buds Kitchen is in the heart of downtown Missoula. Was that planned?

Our downtown spot was intentional. We sought a convenient location to the many neighborhoods throughout Missoula, but also a place where parents could drop off their little one and still go shopping, grab lunch with friends, or have a beer with their significant other nearby.

We also wanted that “downtown atmosphere” for our adult BYOB offerings. Date night or a night out with friends always feels much more special when you are in the middle of the vibrant energy found in downtown spaces.

What can people expect at Taste Buds Kitchen?

Food and fun, of course! When school is out, Taste Buds Kitchen is open! We are offering all-day camps Monday-Friday throughout summer and on school holidays. Our camps have a different theme each week such as Master Chef Junior (just like the show featuring mystery baskets, team challenges and taste tests), Baking 101, Cookie and Cupcake Wars, and more. They are sure to keep our young chefs engaged and their taste buds happy all week long. During the school year, we will have semester classes in which students can join us once a week to whip up a new culinary creation. Our fall semester course will be “Cooking Science,” a class built around the natural phenomena that occur in cooking.

Taste Buds Kitchen also holds parent/child workshops several times a week for little ones ages 2-6 to make tasty dishes with the help of their caregiver. We love to engage the littles in all kinds of recipes, from rainbow cupcakes to fruit parfaits to empanadas!

Adult BYOB classes are available several times per week, giving our “young chefs at heart” a chance to create mouth-watering menus from scratch and to learn a few new tricks along the way. Although our adult offerings are sophisticated, everything from handmade pasta to sushi and dumplings, our classes are designed to be light-hearted and playful.

Lastly, nobody does parties quite like Taste Buds! We offer a variety of options for birthday parties (children and adults), bachelor(ette) parties, baby showers, corporate events, private events, and anything else that deserves a celebration.

What are you most looking forward to in your new endeavor?

Cooking is an incredibly important life skill and it is a privilege to help educate our chefs on what “real food” is, where it comes from, how it’s made. We are so excited to teach people something new and help expand the palates of young and old alike!