Jernard Wells learned to cook by watching his father, who prepared dinner for his six children every night. Inspired by his father and encouraged by his mother, Jernard started his own catering business while in high school and had immediate success. He made boxed lunches that were a hit with local construction workers; by the age of 22 he had opened two restaurants. Wells has since built on that success quite a bit—he’s put together presentations at large shows alongside Barack Obama and Paula Deen, authored two books, and made appearances on Food Network and Lifetime shows.
Today, Wells develops recipes for brands such as Whole Foods and sells specialty spices such as sweet tea chicken seasoning with black tea leaves and sage, and southern barbecue seasoning with smoked sea salt and paprika. He also extends his love of cooking to others though classes that focus on a range of topics—you can learn how to prepare quick appetizers, make Italian pasta sauces, or gracefully lick a plate clean.
The specialists at Eat My Art construct elaborate, edible sculptures from natural ingredients and impart their baking alchemy during classes and workshops. With careful measurements and precise amounts of flour, sugar, and eggs, the baking team arranges multidimensional cakes in the shapes of hot rods, handbags, corsets, and boxing gloves. During child or adult baking classes, the staff supplies all the baking utensils and ingredients necessary to create cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and miniature pies. The classes reveal fine baking and decorating techniques such as piping with buttercream, sculpting with fondant, and baking a file-shaped cake to successfully escape gingerbread prisons.
If it’s possible to make a great first impression with lasagna, Canvas Personal Chef Services knows how. The team behind the catering and home-chef company has now prepared their multicourse menus and stunning hors d’oeuvres for so many families, events, and weddings that they have built their reputation on making each cooking opportunity memorable. What once started as purely a home-chef service in 2009 soon expanded to serve a wide range of clients, business functions, and the most sophisticated food fights. The team even shares their talents by teaching their professional techniques to curious home cooks and helping them elevate the flavor of everything that comes out of their kitchens.
The chefs at Bradford's on Bishop serve up instruction in essential kitchen skills such as basic knife work, cooking techniques, and food handling in seven eclectic cooking classes. Armed with a spread of seasonal ingredients, students can choose to learn the home-cooking secrets of one of several exotic cuisines, including French, modern Thai, and Capoeira. The Girls Night Out class teaches culinary pupils how to whip up more indulgent fare, and Knife Skills slices through an array of different cutting techniques. All classes at Bradford's on Bishop commence with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, allowing students to discuss current cooking topics such as the nutritional differences between a double cheeseburger and the McDouble. A presenting chef then narrates the evening's entrees before the congregation is split into groups of ten, with each group completing multiple dishes under the tutelage of their own chef. Complimentary cocktails are included, and students are encouraged to bring their favorite beverage.
It’s rare that a man knows how to build a flower, but Nicholas Lodge does, and he teaches his students how to do just that—with sugar. At the International Sugar Art Collection by Nicholas Lodge, Lodge and his team of confectioners teach their protégés not only to craft lifelike exotic sugar flowers, but also to roll fondant, manipulate buttercream, and create funky desserts, such as a cake laced into a chocolate corset.
Since 1992, Lodge—a sugar-craft expert who has worked for royalty—has helmed the center, which boasts a sister location in Tokyo. He has also traveled to more than 26 countries to showcase the versatility of his art with demonstrations, rather than simply planting mannequins made of sugar in each audience.
I Wish Lessons’ professionally guided classes convene in various venues throughout Chicago, Boston, DC, and Detroit, uniting and educating like-minded learners in vibrant social settings. The company’s hundreds of teachers have educated countless learners while introducing them to new friends and planning private events, including birthday parties and baby showers. Classes broach a multitude of engaging, lighthearted subjects, such as beer and bacon pairing, scotch tasting, cupcake decorating, and sushi rolling.