Deb Malewski

Contributing Writer

“I’ve always loved to cook, and always wanted to be a chef when I grew up,” said Leigh Tyler of Eaton Rapids. But, like other things in life, sometimes things don’t always go the way we envision them. She currently is employed as a paralegal for the Economic Crime Unit at Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. But she is expanding upon that with a new endeavor, her own business, known as Mimi’s Kitchen. 

Tyler has waited tables in every restaurant in town, she said, and worked at Felpausch (Family Fare, now) making donuts, which is where she met her husband, Rocky. The most fun, she said, was when she worked as a breakfast cook at the English Inn on the weekends, cooking breakfasts to order for the guests staying there. Tyler also served in the Army, where she was a Morse Code Interceptor. 

But her friends and family, after enjoying her cooking, often said, “You should open a restaurant.”

“It’s been a dream of mine to teach my cooking skills to others and to feed other people,” Tyler said. To fulfill that dream, Tyler recently decided to open her own cooking school. 

“Mimi’s Kitchen” is a series of cooking classes based out of her home in Eaton Rapids. The classes feature homemade foods that don’t really need measuring or recipes. She will be having classes most Saturdays, Tyler said, and classes last about two hours. They are geared towards both adults and children. Space is limited, but Tyler will add a second session if demand requires it. 

“I was super happy after my first classes because everyone loved the food and had a great time,” Tyler said. “The great Facebook reviews were very touching.”

“My family is really proud of me,” she added. 

“I spent a lot of time cleaning and bleaching things down in the kitchen and made sure masks were worn during the class,” she said, with the COVID-19 considerations. 

Tyler anticipates that some larger classes will be held via Zoom or YouTube in the future as her kitchen space is limited. The class fee is dependent on the menu for the class. 

Tyler is thinking ahead to her summer class menus, and plans on making her specialty, fried green tomatoes, for sure, along with a grilling class, and an herb class to show how to use them. 

“My mom was a really good cook and cooked everything from scratch,” Tyler said. “I guess that’s where I got it from.” She really enjoys making “something out of nothing” when it comes to feeding her own family. With an overabundance of zucchini in her garden last summer, she created several meals out of the vegetable, including her first-class project, a zucchini stir fry.

Some of her upcoming class menus feature chili, oven-roasted pork loin, pork chops, and a family favorite, angel hair pasta with chicken and vegetables in a creamy parmesan sauce. Another idea she is contemplating is a class that will be making a complete Thanksgiving dinner. Classes created for children will also be offered.

For more information about Mimi’s Kitchen contact Leigh Tyler at 517-490-7928 or email her at You can also find her at mimiskitchen on Facebook.