Whether pursuing a life as a professional cook or a behind-the-scenes mover in culinary arts and restaurant management, the students at JNA Institute of Culinary Arts have honed their craft with professionalism and skill for more than 20 years. Students learn real-world lessons in a demanding professional setting, from running a kitchen to pleasing food critics with menus sung in four-part harmony. JNA shows off the fruits of these labors at its onsite restaurant, where the food is both prepared and served by students. The restaurant boasts a seasonal menu, gracing plates with items that have ranged from housemade gelato to cornmeal-dusted scallops.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivational environment for kids to become acquainted with food and food presentation. Engaging chefstructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette and safety in youngsters, giving them a gourmet guidebook for their future journey into the land of food. Classes educate a variety of age groups; classes for the kindercooks and junior chefs let kids follow a recipe to edible fruition, creating a nutritional meal while mastering basic food-prep skills. Senior chefs are offered advanced classes that hone specific skills and techniques to expand the parameters of cooking creativity.
Little Hands Art Studio's owner and teacher, Jessica Heisen, equips budding artisans with the supplies and know-how to explore their own creativity with delectable results. Heisen’s classes for adults, children, and intergenerational duos guide students as they bake cupcakes and top them with decorations such as fondant, mini marshmallows, frostings in piped pastry bags, and cookies hit by a shrink ray. Beyond the regular classes, Little Hands hosts private birthday parties for youngsters and, on Thursday and Sunday nights, grownups-only workshops, which encourage participants to bring their own wine and mingle as they create pastry art that reflects their inner muses’ 401(k)s. The studio also teaches children how to whip up afternoon snacks such as pastas and muffins, and conducts occasional beading and other art classes.
Philadelphia calls Madame Saito the Queen of Sushi, and it's easy to see why. Armed with formal culinary training from Le Cordon Bleu and the Ritz Escoffier in Paris and experience from apprenticeships under premier Tokyo sushi chefs, she has committed the last 26 years to spreading her love for Japanese culture and contemporary fusion cuisine. Although she leaves time in her schedule to manage Tokio Sushi Bar—her sushi restaurant with French culinary influences—, The HeadHouse Cafe, and to conduct an annual sushi-making competition, Madame Saito counts education as one of her highest priorities. She regularly commits her quadrilingual tongue to demystifying the art of sushi during classes for aspiring chefs and casual students alike, teaching them how to hand roll maki and slice fish into perfectly uniform dodecahedrons.
Boston Magazine is no stranger to great food. For more than 40 years, the publication has covered everything to know about the city—including where to get the best meals. Yet despite their photographers' talents, no amount of barbecue sauce will make a picture taste like the real thing. Enter the magazine's annual event, The Cookout: a two-night culinary extravaganza that brings in some of the area's best chefs.
Night one, The Cue, fills the venue floor with aromas of ribs, pulled pork, and other barbecue favorites—not to mention other summer favorites such as corn on the cob. And drinks? That's also an area for competition, as 10 top mixologists pour their signature cocktails. Night two shifts to a different, equally delicious focus. The annual Battle of the Burger returns, and competitors—clad in their sesame-seed bun armor—come from 20 of the city's best restaurants, which were selected via online voting.
And though top chefs flock to the event, The Cookout is still primarily a celebration for the public. Tickets grant unlimited food and drink, along with the chance to meet chefs and listen to live music.
Foodies may know the internationally acclaimed Christina Pirello from her many cookbooks or from her cable TV shows, but Philadelphians can learn from this bubbly, healthy living expert live and in person. With Christina Cooks, Pirello furthers her mission to help people look and feel their best by cooking and eating natural, organic food. During single-session demo classes like "Honoring World Traditions", participants observe as Pirello cooks and provides tips and tricks for healthy eating. Hands-on workshops like "Breads and Tapenades" and "Pastry and Gelato" enable students to make their own dishes under Pirello's expert guidance. Three-day intensive study courses and seven-month comprehensive study programs give aspiring cooks an immersive experience that transforms their eating and cooking habits. While Christina Cooks is based in South Philadelphia, most classes are held at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in West Philadelphia.