The Real Food Academy: A Summer Camp Like No Other

This post is brought to you by our Summer Camp Guide Presenting Partners: The Real Food Academy.

Introducing A Summer Camp Like No Other

What’s so wonderful about The Real Food Academy culinary summer camp is that it provides children the chance to learn cooking skills, experiment in the kitchen, build friendships, expand their culinary palate, improve their math and reading skills and more!

Their primary mission, which they refer to as their North Star, is to educate campers about the difference between “real food” and highly processed foods. They teach children how unhealthy highly processed foods are, aiming to equip them to make wise food choices. 

The Real Food Academy: A Summer Camp Like No Other Miami Mom CollectiveThe Real Food Academy Combines Summer Camp Fun & Life Skills

One of the most popular camp activities is known as Food Detectives. Chef Maria teaches the campers to read ingredient labels on food packages and what those names mean. “It’s always a shock to the kids when they learn that refined sugar is one of the top ingredients in processed foods and especially breakfast cereals, which most of them have for breakfast. Kids learn how eating healthy foods can potentially stave off future medical problems like diabetes and heart disease,” says Chef Maria.

The Real Food Academy: A Summer Camp Like No Other Miami Mom Collective

What Parents are saying about The Real Food Academy

The parents are as happy about the camp as the campers.

“My 13 year-old daughter attended this camp and loved it. It was a great combination of delicious foods, cooking techniques, and learning to eat healthy. She is now correcting me on knife techniques!” says Julia Santeliz.

Many campers attend multiple weeks and come back year after year. Several former campers (turned teen) have returned as volunteers and even employees to help teach the newest generation of campers.

On June 6th The Real Food Academy kicked off its popular annual summer camp in a large sun-splashed building. Children channel their inner chefs by developing or honing their skills preparing a variety of foods that are healthy, nutritious and delicious.

Maria, a native of Venezuela who learned to cook healthy foods from her Peruvian father, launched a successful business in 2008. She offered private cooking classes and children’s cooking parties in Miami Shores. Demand for the classes grew so rapidly that when her husband Arthur retired after a career in financial services, he joined her as Co-Founder of The Real Food Academy, which the pair launched in 2011.

The Real Food Academy: A Summer Camp Like No Other Miami Mom Collective

They renovated a beautiful 5,300 square-foot, two-story building that features a large, well-appointed teaching kitchen, plenty of food preparation space and a café that is open to the public. 

“We don’t change the dish, we change the ingredients,” is their slogan.  “Instead of telling kids to give up their favorite foods, we teach them a healthy way to prepare it,” explains Maria. 

The Real Food Academy: A Summer Camp Like No Other Miami Mom Collective

“We chose the name The Real Food Academy because our mission is to focus on ingredients that are as close to nature as possible, using no highly processed foods. We are passionate about teaching the relationship between eating healthy and being healthy. At The Real Food Academy we believe and teach the two go hand-in hand.”

Enroll Before Camp Sells Out! 

The Real Food Academy: A Summer Camp Like No Other Miami Mom CollectiveThe Real Food Academy camp sells out every week for the past 12 years so enroll now while there are still seats available!

Camp runs for 11 weeks for kids ages 5-16 at 570 NE 81st Street in Miami. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (with an extra charge for late pickup). 

Check out The Real Food Academy on Instagram and Facebook. 

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Cierra is the Owner & Founder of Miami Mom Collective. A Southern girl with Alabama roots, she has lived in California, Israel, China, Texas and Florida. Cierra quickly fell in love with the beauty and diversity of South Florida when she first visited Key Biscayne after reconnecting with (and later marrying!) her high school sweetheart. Before having children of her own, she oversaw more than 100 as the Director of Key Biscayne Presbyterian School. In 2017 she launched into her latest and greatest adventure: motherhood! Cierra is Mama to a joyful 5 year girl, an energetic 3 year old boy, snuggly 1 year old boy, and a smiley baby girl! Her hands and heart are FULL to say the least! Cierra is passionate about leading and developing women to use their unique gifts to serve and encourage others. She founded Miami Mom Collective to encourage, equip, and empower Moms with relevant resources and a meaningful community. Follow her on Instagram to stay connected.


  1. This is FANTASTIC! Thank you for sharing this one-of-a-kind experience with us, Cierra. My kids would love this!

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